Review: Love and Other Theories – Alexis Bass

Review: Love and Other Theories – Alexis BassLove and Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Published by Harper Collins
Published: December 30th 2014
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two-stars

Love and Other Theories is a fast-paced twist on the coming-of-age novel . . . and the romantic comedy.

Aubrey and her best friends made a pact to play by the guys' rules when it comes to dating. They're hoping the rules will keep them from experiencing high school heartbreak—they don't realize that these rules could just as easily keep them from opening their hearts and minds. And when new boy Nathan Diggs moves to town, Aubrey starts to think that some rules are meant to be broken.

With equal parts bite and romance, topped off with an irresistibly engaging voice, Alexis Bass's debut novel is one you won't want to miss.

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

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I’m don’t know what to say about Love and Other Theories. I know that at 82% I almost didn’t finish it. I know that things happened that didn’t need to happen. I know that I was frustrated with a lot of it. I know that I wasn’t happy with the end. And I know that this could have been a different book if it went in a different direction. It could have been a fantastic book. Instead I was left feeling annoyed, let down, irrationally ragey (especially for a fictional character), and all around sad for what could have been.

Love and Other Theories is the story of Aubrey and her 3 best friends Shelby, Danica and Melissa. Seniors in high school and they all have one thing in common, they have never had their heart broken. After watching scores of girls seem needy and get tossed aside, they come up with theories that help them seem available and easily unattached. The theories work like a charm until the new guy, Nathan, shows up. Soon what seemed simple is anything but. Aubrey finds herself brushing the theories aside but is a broken heart worth it?

This definitely wasn’t a me book even though it seems like it from the description. There wasn’t much that I found myself hoping for or rooting for. I think a lot of that was how the book started. When we meet Aubrey, we are told she is the Joey Potter of the group (be prepared for me to make all the Dawson’s Creek references!). She was the smart one, the one going to college, the one that studied and didn’t party. But we don’t get to see that part of her. Instead we are introduced to Jen Lindley, the party girl that is boy crazy and has messed up ideas about love and the world. It just didn’t sit right with me. I wanted to see the Aubrey that we were told she was. I didn’t want to see only the girl that goes out on weekends and drinks until she throws up.

I also had trouble with Nathan. At the beginning of the book he was this sweet new guy that was taken by Aubrey. Did he do things that a good guy might not have done? Sure. But he is a teenage boy so it is almost to be expected. What bugged me was that he seemed to completely change from one chapter to the next with no rhyme or reason. He was almost a jerk by the end and it didn’t fit with what we was supposed to be.

But really even after all of that, there was one thing that really bugged me. These people never talked to each other. I mean there was literally no conversation that had any meaning that was longer than like 2 pages. It was so frustrating. I wanted to jump through the pages and tell them they needed to start getting all Dawson’s Creek and talk about things, even use a big word or two that we would have to look up. Everything was just told on such a superficial level that it grated on my nerves. These kids were playing games and acting like these ‘evolved’ individuals and all they were were scared kids that didn’t want to face heartache and rejection.

I know it looks like there was nothing redeeming about this book for me. But there are people that loved it and you could too. I just had too many issues to get over when all is said and done. I felt like the book was written to be more like a typical teenage movie that didn’t translate into a book. There was just too much that bugged me when I read this one (and that is me not even touching on one part that made me CAP LOCK text a friend to complain) and the end that disappointed me. Sadly not every book is for everyone, and this is one of those books for me.

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Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless – Liz Czukas

Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless – Liz CzukasTop Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas
Published by Harper Collins
Published: December 9th 2014
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four-stars

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

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

thoughtsAfter reading Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless I know one thing about Liz Czukas, she writes a cute story. Simply put this book was adorable. It was fun with some seriousness. It had a interesting plot with a small mystery. And it made me miss working retail and want to watch The Breakfast Club.

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless is about Chloe, a teenaged employee at the local supermarket that is stuck working on Christmas Eve. Having moved not long ago Chloe has had trouble making friends and relies on lists to help her get through lonely days. Heading into work Chloe decides she is going to get to know her other co-workers and maybe flirt a little with her crush Tyson. But when money is missing and the 6 teenagers are blamed, they get to all know each other in a way they never expected. The only question, did one of them steal it?

I really liked Chloe and her story a lot. She was one of those characters that is so easy to relate to. She’s insecure in new situations like we all are/can be and that’s why she is so easy to connect with. She so badly wants to make friends but is so scared to take the step to know people and step out if her safe, comfort zone. I also really liked the rest of the cast of characters. They were a very diverse, eclectic group which made them fascinating and The Breakfast Club like. And the romance, although a small part, was just adorable.

I must admit though, what I really enjoyed most was the setting. In high school I worked at a clothing store for my senior year. It was one of the most fun things I have ever done. I remember being stuck in the store after there was a key situation, doing inventory when the electricity was down because of an April snow storm, and general silliness we had on your average night. Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless really brought me back to those days. It made me nostalgic for that year and just made me smile.

All in all a great book that is a quick read. There are many characters to connect with and a fun story to follow along with. The mystery is a small added bonus. If you haven’t read a Liz Czukas book before, I definitely recommend you do.

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Review: All Broke Down – Cora Carmack

Review: All Broke Down – Cora CarmackAll Broke Down by Cora Carmack
Series: Rusk University, #2
Published by Harper Collins
Published: October 28th 2014
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five-stars

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

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

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Sometimes when you pick up a book that mixes romance and football either the romance suffers or the football suffers. It’s rare to find an author that nails both and nails it seamlessly. Cora Carmack is one of those rare finds. All Broke Down is the perfect combination of football, sexy times, testosterone, and feels. Basically I loved it to tiny little pieces so I could love more of it.

All Broke Down is the second book in the Rusk University series. It follows the life of Silas, a running back we met in All Lined Up, and Dylan, a new character that is a hardcore do-gooder. Both Silas and Dylan couldn’t be any different. He’s all anger and walls and she is all help save the world and be perfect. But when their paths collide in an unexpected place they embark on something they never could of imagined. Instead of saving the planet Dylan might just be able to save Silas from himself, but what she doesn’t expect is him actually helping to save her.

Man did I love this book. I mean I knew I would enjoy it after having read All Lined Up. Silas wasn’t really a favorite of mine, but I still thought the book would be good. But what I got kind of blew me out of the water. It was a very character driven story that had heart, emotion and a lot of lust. I actually ended up loving Silas more and more as I saw all the layers under the posturing in the first book. He kind of broke my heart with how broken and lonely and scared he was. He was a deeply flawed character and I love that Dylan saw beneath those flaws that so few did.

Now what to say about Dylan. When I read the blurb about her I admit that I rolled my eyes. I thought she would be annoying and would try to change Silas in a typical kind of way. But boy was I wrong. Dylan was the perfect partner for Silas. She wasn’t judgmental, she understood him in a surprising way, and she was supportive. She never tried to make Silas feel unworthy of her or the life he wanted. They were pretty smoking together to be honest. The pages just oozed chemistry and it all just worked. I just loved how their stories unfolded.

I truly don’t want to give too much away, and I fear that I may have a little, but this is a book you need to read. It will tug at your heartstrings, make you smile, and maybe even fan yourself. It has a great balance of football and romance and drama that ties all Mickey together when all is said and done. Definitely a new favorite of mine and I think it will be for you too.

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Review: All Lined Up – Cora Carmack

Review: All Lined Up – Cora CarmackAll Lined Up by Cora Carmack
Series: Rusk University, #1
Published by Harper Collins
Published: May 13th 2014
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four-stars

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

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I always seem to have a love/hate relationship with New Adult (I find myself mostly hating them) but I read what this was about and saw other people gushing over it so I took another NA chance. In theory it should have been something I would love. I mean hello football and hot QB. But I was nervous. I can 100% say there was no reason for me to worry. All Lined Up was completely addicting in the best kind of way.

Do you like football and romance? That is all you need to ask yourself before reading All Lined Up because that is what the book is about. Dallas is starting her freshman year of college at Rush University, the college her father has been hired at to coach the football team. For Dallas’ whole life she has felt like football has come first and she is tired of it. She wants nothing to do with the team, her father coaching of the team or the players on the team, especially her ex-boyfriend. But when she has a chance encounter with Carson, the new potential Quarter Back, Dallas begins to wonder if her aversion to football should soften, especially when she can’t seem to get him out of her head.

I’m not sure what it was about this book that made it so addicting. It could be the way the plot flowed or Dallas or Carson or Dallas and Carson together. Whatever it was I just didn’t want to stop reading. I just loved how everything played out and how awesome Dallas and Carson were together. They had an undeniable chemistry that jumped off the pages from their first interaction. Between the romance and the football I was just hooked.

I have read a Carmack story in the past and enjoyed it, but there was something special about All Lined Up. I did have an issue with the parental units in the story but that is usually the case in a lot of books so I let that slide because that aside it really was an excellent read that will keep you interested and keep you hooked. You’ll want to know what happens to these characters and if they can get out of their own way and live their life the way they want. I look forward to whatever else this series has in store for us. It is now my new guilty pleasure.

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Review: 17 First Kisses – Rachael Allen

Review: 17 First Kisses – Rachael Allen17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
Published by Harper Collins
Published: June 17th 2014
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three-stars

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

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

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I guess for me 17 First Kisses was a slight disappointment. I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it. What started out as a fun story with a good friendship and interesting back story and a creative way to tell the story of the first kisses, quickly became kind of muddled and in the end turned out to be just okay. Instead of being blown away when I was done I was just left thinking what my next book was going to be.

17 First Kisses is about Clair, a high school senior, that is a tomboy at heart but also a little boy crazy. She’s got her best friend Meghan and her other two close girl friends, but she is still looking for the boy of her dreams. But with family problems and the same group of boys always around Clair has basically given up. That’s until Luke shows up. As Clair gets to know Luke a crush begins but with this crush is a problem, Meghan likes him too. And for as long as Clair and Meghan have been friends Meghan always gets what she wants.

The book really started off great. I liked how the story was being told. I liked the first kiss stories and how one kiss lead to Meghan and Clair’s friendship. I liked getting background information that way. It made it seem new and different as it wasn’t a flashback, but a natural part of the story. But I guess my problem was Meghan and Clair. It was hard to understand why they were friends when they seemed more like frienemies. I mean for me this could be because I never understood the concept of the frienemy. The Serena and Blair’s of the world never really made sense to me. But I found the competition between the two of them to be kind of cumbersome and a tad too much. There were moments when I liked their friendship and it seemed genuine, but I think what made this book just okay was that there weren’t enough of those moments to fill a whole book and that bugged me.  I did really like the friendship that Clair had with Sam. That was a true friendship and I wish there was more focus on that. And I also really liked the stuff happening with Clair’s family. I almost feel like that would have been a better focus than the friendship as it had a deeper feeling to it.

All in all 17 First Kisses was a quick read that kept me interested enough but I felt just missed the mark. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. It had some great parts and some not so great parts that made me roll my eyes. The characters are interesting enough to keep you engaged so I wouldn’t shy away from telling you to pick it up and give it a go yourself.

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