Review: Shuffle, Repeat – Jen Klein

Review: Shuffle, Repeat – Jen KleinShuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Published: May 3rd 2016
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four-half-stars

When Harry Met Sally for YA romance readers. This opposites-attract love story is perfect for fans of Huntley Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han.

June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.

Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.

Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

I picked Shuffle, Repeat on a total whim. I was trying to decide what I wanted to read next and it was quite literally next to me on my bed. Remembering what it was about I picked it up. I can honestly say I loved it from page one.  It pulled me in immediately and never looked back. It was funny and charming and sweet and felt like the truth. Basically I loved it.

The premise of Shuffle, Repeat is one of my favorites. It’s about June and Oliver, two totally different people that have known each other since birth (their moms have been best friends for years). After June and her mom move, Oliver is enlisted to drive June to school everyday. Everyday the two of them argue and debate everything from music to graduation to the school prank. But as the time passes they seem to find more and more common ground and June starts to see that maybe Oliver isn’t really who she thought he was. When feelings change and become something unexpected June struggles with letting go of what she made herself think high school was all about.

The book really had minimal chance to fail with me. I must admit that one of my favorite type of books is the hate to love kind of story and this fit that mold perfectly. But this book also could have easily been a great 3 star read. What made it better? June and Oliver. The two of the, together were everything. I laughed and giggled. I cringed and groaned. I swooned and melted with feels. There was just something so genuine and endearing about them. They are what made Shuffle, Repeat what it was. They were the shinning stars and I still smile thinking about them.

I truly can’t say anything about Shuffle, Repeat that isn’t anything but glowing. It was one of those books you never wanted to finish but you couldn’t stop reading. It was exactly what I wanted/needed in a book and I highly recommend you read it.

 

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Blog Tour: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill plus a Giveaway

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I’m very happy to be a part of the blog tour for When Joss Met Matt. As a minimal fan of New Adult books I was thrilled to find that When Joss Met Matt far exceeded my expectations. For my stop on the blog tour you will find my review for the book, a definition for Sorbet Sex (you’ll understand when you read the book) and the rules for Sorbet Sex. Oh and of course a fab giveaway which goes until 3/3. US ONLY.

Make sure you stop by the other tour participants’ blogs. You can find a list HERE:

 

Blog Tour: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill plus a GiveawayWhen Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Published: February 24th 2015
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four-half-stars

What if after every bad breakup, there was someone to help “cleanse your palate”—someone who wouldn’t judge you, who was great in bed, someone you were sure not to fall in love with? “Sorbet sex” could solve everything—as long as it never got too sweet.

Joss and Matt have been friends since freshman year of college, meeting one night after Joss is dumped by her boyfriend. After a few drinks, Matt humors her with a proposition: that he’ll become her go-to guy whenever she needs to heal a broken heart. In return, she’ll do the same for him. The #1 Rule: They’ll never fall in love with each other. People scoff at the arrangement. But six years later, Joss and Matt are still the best of friends . . . with benefits.

Through a string of boyfriends and girlfriends—some almost perfect, some downright wrong—Joss and Matt are always there for each other when the going gets tough. No strings. No attachments. Piece of cake. No problem. After all, since they wrote the rules, surely they can play by them. Or can they?

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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Lately I have been finding myself more into some New Adult books. In the past I found some of them a little too cliche and hard to get into. But there are some that I have loved so I didn’t throw in the towel yet. So when I heard that Liz Czukas (Ask Again Later and Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless) wrote a NA book under a pen name I was there. And when I read what When Joss Met Matt was about I was even more there. And when I finally read it? Even happier I didn’t throw in the towel. Basically this book was pretty awesome and exactly my kind of read.

When Joss Met Matt is about Joss and Matt, two that met their freshman year of college and have been best friends ever since. Things between them start out 100% platonic as Joss has a boyfriend. But when her and her high school boyfriend break up Joss and Matt become a little more than friends. They become each other’s pallet cleanse, sorbet sex partners. And for the last 7 years it has worked. When one of the. Breaks up with someone and the other is single they are their for each other to help the other start off fresh. But as most friends with benefits situations do, Joss starts to develop feelings for Matt that go beyond what they have spent years trying to build.

It’s hard to pinpoint what I loved best about When Joss Met Matt. The characterization of both Matt and Joss was spot on. The setting was fun as it was a mix of YA, NA, and some adult. And the plot was fantastic as I’m a sucker for ‘friends to maybe more’ stories. I loved the relationship between Joss and Matt a lot too. It was complicated, but it worked for them for the most part. And it was nice that they were there for one another even when things were hard. I mean some of the emotional parts had me tearing up but in the best of ways. And I also liked that this was not a cheating book. That was refreshing as sometimes the friendship to love books are cheating in some way.

I do have to wonder what the book would have been like if it was a dual point of view story. It was told solely from Joss’s POV which worked and was fine, but I found myself wondering what was in Matt’s head a lot of the time. We got to see since he was pretty honest with Joss, but I couldn’t help but let my mind go there and want to see what he felt and what he was thinking.

Even with that small, minor thought I had, I really loved this book. It was fun and entertaining and a quick read. You easily get sucked into the story and invested. And you need to know how it will all turn out. Both Joss and Matt were very likable and easy to connect with. I will say one thing about When Joss Met Matt, it made me want to go on dates and to never date again. 😉 A definite pick up and read.

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About Ellie Cahill

Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.

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Review: For Real – Alison Cherry

Review: For Real – Alison CherryFor Real by Alison Cherry
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2014
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three-stars

No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. While Miranda's life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life... or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what's for real?

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I’m a huge fan of the TV show The Amazing Race. I have watched every season, the good and the bad. So when I heard about For Real and the Amazing Race vibe I knew it was a book I had to read. And although it was good and I enjoyed myself, there were somethings that I definitely would have changed to make it better. I will say it was a quick read without a lot of heavy lifting so that was a nice bonus.

For Real is the story of two sisters, Claire and Miranda, who haven’t been all that close for a long time. Miranda as the older sister insists on thinking of Claire as a baby. She never gives her any credit for anything and talks down to her often. But when Miranda’s boyfriend cheats on her and the opportunity to race across the world appears, Claire thinks it is the perfect time to show her sister how much she has grown. Set to be each others partners, the girls are thrown for a loop when they find out it is a dating show and a race. Now not only is their relationship at stake, but possibly their hearts.

Claire and Miranda’s relationship was probably the best part of For Real. I’m an only child so I don’t have that sister relationship to compare it to, but it seemed authentic to me. Miranda looked at Claire as the little girl she took care of even though clear had grown up. And Claire was desperate for Miranda to see her as she was even if she was a work in progress. I liked this aspect. I liked that they fought and weren’t all Full House chummy. I like that they were seemingly on opposite sides but still together. And I liked how they evolved as individuals and as siblings as the book went on.

I guess my biggest problem with For Real was the romance aspect. Look, I’m all for a good romance in a book if it fits. I love those moments in books. But some books it just doesn’t work for and For Real was one of those books for me. I really wanted this book to just focus on Miranda and Claire but it didn’t and it took away from the story. Adding the dating show aspect, sure it was fun, but I didn’t feel it was needed. It was kind of a throwaway part of the book.

In the end For Real was a quick read that was not heavy lifting at all. It entertained me when I needed to be entertained. It’s one I would recommend borrowing and checking it out.

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Review: Don’t Even Think About It – Sarah Mlynowski

Review: Don’t Even Think About It – Sarah MlynowskiDon't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2014
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two-stars

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

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’ve been a huge fan of Sarah Mlynowski for a really long time. I was first introduced to her with her ‘chick lit’ book Milkrun. I don’t know if it was because it took place in Boston or the age I was when I read it, but I was instantly hooked. I have since read her other ‘chick lit’ books and her YA books and reality enjoyed them. So basically I was beyond thrilled when I saw this and even more so when I got an advanced copy. Sad to say though, Don’t Even Think About It just didn’t do it for me. It was one of those books that had such amazing potential but just didn’t get there which bums me out.

Basically Don’t Even Think About It is the story of a sophomore high school class that gets the flu shot. Approximately 24 hours later everyone in one home room has become telepathic and are now hearing the thoughts of everyone around them. The harder they try to hide their secrets the more they come out and soon everyone knows everyone business. Some are more effected by these secrets than others but basically no one is safe. Unsure if they want the world to know they hide the new found ability, but with secrets leaking all over the place it isn’t something they can hide for long.

My number one problem with this book was that there were just too many main characters and plots going on. You have Cooper and Mackenzie, Tess, Sadie and Teddy, Tess and BJ, Olivia and Lazar/Renee, Pi, the list could go on and on. I found with all of these characters and stories that the book was hard to follow and to stay connected to the characters. But with that said I also felt like nothing much was really going on which was beyond bizarre for the amount of stuff that was in fact going on. Essentially I never really got a feel for the plot.

On the plus, Mlynowski definite delivered in the form of entertainment based solely on the characters personalities. Cooper and BJ were witty and entertaining and Mackenzie was the perfect mean girl and Olivia was the girl you just wanted to tell not to worry what other people think. I think that was the one saving grace for me and what made me continue on.

Honestly I don’t think it was 100% a bad book! I just think it missed the mark. Teenagers with telepathy could have gone in such a great deep direction and this just didn’t, not for me any way. But I really can’t state enough how important it is for you to try it anyway if it sounds good to you. Not ever book is for every person.

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