Starstruck By Nicole Ciacchella

Starstruck By Nicole Ciacchella
Published March 30th 2014 By Sweenix Rising Books

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the Publisher via Netgalley. 


Summary: Lex Harrington is living a stranger’s life. After high school, she and her boyfriend, superstar quarterback Brad Wakefield, headed off to college, secure in the knowledge of their brilliant future. Then an injury ended Brad’s football career, and he convinced Lex to drop out of school and return home with him, where everything fell apart.

Because the glossy surface of their relationship concealed a dark truth: years of emotional abuse culminating in Brad’s walking out on Lex and their infant son. At twenty-three, she’s a single mother with no future prospects, struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the aftermath of her destructive marriage.

When Jaron Richards left for college, he vowed he’d never look back. Brad laid waste to his friendship with Lex, leaving nothing to bind Jaron to his hometown. But his unrequited love for Lex has never faded, even as his star has begun to rise, making him Hollywood’s hottest new actor.

Now Jaron is back in town to film his latest movie, and his presence stirs up everything Lex would rather forget. Can they find a way to pick up the pieces and build a future together?

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Starstruck had a strong beginning, only for it to fall short.

Starstruck is one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” books. New Adult has always been something that is a hit or miss for me and sadly this book wasn’t for me.

I requested this book seeing how the description looked really good. The regular person/celebrity premise reminded me of Jennifer E Smith’s This Is What Happiness Looks Like which I read last year and liked. Naturally, I went in expecting a similar premise but was grateful that it was different.

Unlike most NA books I’ve read so far, this one had a straight A student who had to drop out of school because she was pregnant at 19. What made it even more interesting was that her then boyfriend turned husband was abusive. The flashbacks of the abuse and the life she led before was certainly much more interesting than the present life though I did appreciate that we get to see the aftereffects of such mental and verbal abuse.

There were several issues I had with the book, one of them being that I had difficulties relating to the characters. Lex bothered me a lot. Though I understand her difficulties in trusting people post-abuse, I felt that she was a little petty with Jaron and the way she behaved confused me considering they were the best of friends before this. Comparing the two, I felt more for Jaron; he was more trying than Lex and pushed his pride aside for the sake of their friendship. He acknowledged his mistakes, which was a trait I really could respect.

Secondly, I felt that the book may have dragged on for a bit too long. The book does go back and forth with flashbacks, some contributing to the story while others felt a little repetitive. Nothing much actually happened until the last 60 pages where the two characters decide to act upon their feelings. To me, it didn’t feel like there was a “climax”, only a series of problems and denials which kept building (and excruciatingly slow to be resolved) and ended with the climax. It was very telling and somewhat a predictable ending which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I wanted more out of them rather than just petty arguing and avoiding their feelings.

The star if the book was definitely without a doubt Owen. He was an intelligent boy and made me laugh with the things he did or left me in awe of how wonderful he is.

Starstruck discussed an important topic above all which is abuse and how it affects the abused which is something that needs to be discussed more often. It really puts things in retrospect as you get into the mind of someone who was abused and understand her fear of getting close to others.

While this book may not be for me, it may interest others who want to learn more about the after effects of abuse or are interested in a NA book that is slightly different from the rest.

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April Wrap Up

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Psi Another Day By D. R. Rosensteel • One Broke Girl By Rhonda Helms • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before By Jenny Han
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Rich Kids of Instagram By The Creator of Rich Kids of Instagram & Maya Sloan Starstruck By Nicole Ciacchella • The Isobel Journal By Isobel Harrop

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Rebel Belle By Rachel Hawkins • Love, Lex By Avery Aster

I received (advanced) review copies of The Isobel Journal, Starstruck, Rich Kids of Instagram and Psi Another Day c/o the publishers via Netgalley. I received advanced review copies of Love, Lex and One Broke Girl c/o of the publisher via Xpresso Book Tours.

This month was a pretty good reading month for me. I am typically a very slow reader and usually read about 2-3 books per month. However, for the month of April, I decided to participate in Hot Key Books’ #papervspixels challenge. I am proud to say that I stuck with my goal of reading solely on my iPad/Kindle for the entire month of April! I read a total of 8 books, 100% read on my iPad, which is more than what I usually read on a regular month. I had some personal emergency to attend to this month, so I’m surprised I still managed to rack up this much of reading.

If you’ve noticed, a good majority of the books were books I received from publishers through Netgalley & Xpresso Reads; in a way the need to review gave me the motivation to push through the books. I’m really happy with the books I’ve read this month; I enjoyed a good majority of the books and gave a number of 4/5 stars this month! I read several New Adult books, which are a little out of my comfort zone but I’m happy to announce that I did enjoy some of them.

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I headed to a massive book sale at a convention hall and managed to rack up a total of $91 dollars at a bookstore. I bought a whooping sum of 9 books (in which I aggressively raided through boxes of books and stalking people holding books I wanted hoping they would put it back (they did)) so you can look forward to a May Book Haul post soon!

I’m currently reading The Opposite of LonelinessThe Husband’s Secret and Love Letters To The Dead, all of which I put aside to read all the review copies I received. I’m really looking forward to finishing all of these books in the month of May. I’ve heard nothing but great things about The Opposite of Loneliness and Love Letters to the Dead. It so happens that the books are non fiction/essays, adult fiction and young adult which is really showing of how much I’ve begun to branch out. I’m trying to read more non fiction (they’re interesting but I somehow always get tired?) and more adult books (look at me branching out) as I go along to expand the type of things I’m exposed to.

I don’t usually stick to a to be read, but I’m hoping I can also add Wonder by R. J. Palacio and Lolita to the pile of books for May. I’ve made a list of books I want to push higher up the list of 2348917312 books I still have yet to read, so lets hope I get through some of it.


Psi Another Day By D. R. Rosensteel

Psi Another Day By D. R. Rosensteel
Psi Fighter Academy #1
Publication Date: 6 May 2014 by Entangled Publishing

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the Publisher, via Netgalley. 



By day, I’m just another high school girl who likes lip gloss. But by night I’m a Psi Fighter—a secret guardian with a decade of training in the Mental Arts. And I’m about to test those skills in my first battle against evil.


When I was six, the Walpurgis Knights, our deadliest enemy, murdered my parents. The Psi Fighters put me into hiding, and all traces of my existence evaporated. Then I went through the most accelerated Psi Fighter training possible. And now I go to your school.


Unfortunately, so do the bad guys. My parents’ killer has sent his apprentice to infiltrate the school to find me. And everyone is a potential suspect, even irresistible new kid, Egon, and my old nemesis-turned-nice-guy, Mason. Fingers crossed I find the Knight before he finds me…

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If I could compare Psi Another Day to a TV series, it would be Nikita (if she was in high school). And it’s no secret that I am a huge Nikita fan.

Psi Another Day was so thrilling to read. It was so action packed and fast paced that I kept turning pages. Psi Another Day is about a girl who is a Psi Fighter for the Academy, where she trains to be a fighter that is similar to kung fu, only with more mental powers and really cool futuristic gear. I really really loved all the cool futuristic gear like the Amplifier and Memory Lash and that one thing that scans your memories. Uhhhh, yes please!

Psi Another Day is equally character and plot driven, which made for a very holistic book. The characters were so interesting on their own with their mysteries but the plot really helped to elevate the characters and gave them new mysterious dimensions. There’s a lot of spy lingo (if you will) that will take some time getting used to, along with learning the many characters of the secret spy world and the high school characters. Nevertheless, it was so interesting to see how the characters from the two world intertwined to make for such a great and intricate story. The plot was done in such a way that I kept guessing who the Scallion was and each time something would throw me off to show otherwise. The journey was so engaging and enthralling, I could not put it down!

I believe this book is part of a series and I cannot wait to see what they’ll be up to next!

I really enjoyed Psi Another Day and it met my expectations of a spy book, mixed with a little bit more. Psi Another Day is a must-read for anyone who loves spies and action. Highly recommended!

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before By Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before By Jenny Han
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1
Published April 22nd 2014


Summary: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

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I laughed, I cried and I was completely enthralled from start to finish.

To All the Boys sounds like a simple contemporary about a girl and her crushes — but it’s not. Jenny Han wrote an incredibly beautiful story about a girl’s coming of age, relationships and sisterhood. To All the Boys is more complex than you’d typically expect. Jenny Han explores the topic of death, loss and coping and it’s handled in such a way that is realistic yet incredibly poignant. The thing about To All the Boys is it’s intricacy, lacing so many different topics together, which makes every page turn exciting.

One of the first few things you learn about Lara Jean is her family; her background of having a single father and the Song sisters. You learn that she’s only ever loved five boys in her entire life and wrote letters to them when her love for them is over. As an older sister (and the oldest of us three siblings), the Song sisterhood is something that I could relate to and one that I’ll hold close to my heart. Jenny Han explores the importance of sisterhood; not just its difficulties, but how the bond is eternal. The Song sisterhood is a breath of fresh air; its rare to find a family that is mentally and physically there (in YA books, these days). The Song sisters stick together, not because they have to, but they want  to and that’s what made me love them.

Lara Jean’s character growth was also something I could relate to. As she and Peter begins becoming friends, she asks a lot about love and he responds telling her that she’s starry-eyed. And it’s such an apt way of describing who Lara Jean is. Lara Jean doesn’t know a lot about love, and lacked friends; to which she confided in Margot (her older sister) and when Margot leaves, she’s lost. In the process of detangling the mess she’s made, Lara Jean learns a lot about love, what it is and along the way she learns a lot about herself.

Learning about Josh and Peter made me swoon. I really loved Josh and Peter and they’re so different yet similar. I can’t decide who I want Lara Jean to end up with yet but either way they’re both great guys! I’m quite curious to learn more about the guy who moved away and the summer camp guy — I hope Lara Jean gets to meet them in the second book.

I enjoyed the Korean aspects of the story as well. Being someone who is heavily invested in anything Korean, it made me a little overexcited to learn more about Lara Jean’s background and how they go about their ways.

To All the Boys is one of my favourite books that I’ve read this year. I know I’m going to remember this story for a long time. I highly recommend this to everybody; To All the Boys is beyond your typical contemporary book and will keep you turning pages.

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Rich Kids of Instagram By The Creator of Rich Kids of Instagram & Maya Sloan

Rich Kids of Instagram By The Creator of Rich Kids of Instagram & Maya Sloan
Publication Date: July 8th 2014 by Gallery Books

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o of the Publisher, via Netgalley.


Summary: Based on the wildly popular blog “Rich Kids of Instagram,” a dishy and hilarious novel about the intersecting lives of the world’s most extravagant, unapologetically uber-rich teenagers.

The “Rich Kids of Instagram” are not your typical well-to-do brats. These “kids” drive Ferraris, fly to their weekend getaways in private jets, and post self-indulgent photos of themselves online as frequently—and as wantonly—as they blow wads of cash. Not to mention that they’re more involved in sex, drugs, and power plays than most people twice their age.

Drawing from the ten most frequent contributors to the popular blog of the same name—which receives an average of 850,000 unique visitors a month and has been featured on 20/20, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Gawker, and others—Rich Kids of Instagram revolves around a core group of spoiled young people, from a Southern Belle poultry-empire heiress to a media mogul’s driven daughter and an old-money rifle heir with a Mayflower legacy; to a nouveau riche outsider who is thrust into the members-only universe of the .1%, with scandalous results.

In a world that is smaller, more connected, and more competitive than ever, where nothing is off limits, some kids are just trying to make a buck—or ten thousand. Prepare to be wowed by this saucy, compulsively readable book about the hilarious display of extravagant wealth and the teenagers who have fallen into it.

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Well colour me surprised!

Rich Kids of Instagram was a lot more interesting and fun to read than I expected. Rich Kids of Instagram follows an unknown voice, who narrates the start of the book, and later goes into different chapters dedicated to different characters. Sound familiar? Rich Kids of Instagram is a better blend of Rich Kids and Gossip Girl — it was fun, entertaining yet witty and intelligent.

The common stereotype of rich kids is that they’re spoiled and privileged. And while all of that is true for the Rich Kids in this book, their characters are so charming and intelligent. Rich Kids of Instagram is very character driven; despite it’s many arcs, there is one central story: Todd Evergreen. His presence begins changing lives, and leads to the characters discovering different things about themselves and each other. The characters in the book are smart; I liked that they showed determination to work for what they want, even though they can easily be bought. Individually, they showcased their different passions and took different approaches to getting what they wanted. I particularly enjoyed Cordelia and Annalise; they were very strong women who fought for what they wanted, in a manner that was somewhat respectable.

I did have a little trouble pushing through with the book, seeing how there’s so many different characters but I appreciated that the author tried to explain their background first before jumping into how they fit into the story. Not all of the characters were likable — I couldn’t really relate to Desy and M.C.. They were a tad annoying to me and while they did have their moments, they did come off as your typical rich kid character. I didn’t particularly find Phillip that interesting either as was Christian.

Nevertheless, it was an all round enjoyable book and I really liked the way it was written. It was smart and unapologetically real, that I could imagine these characters come to life and going about their day in true reality TV style. Rich Kids of Instagram exceeded my expectations. Would recommend it to anyone who wants to take a peek at the world of the rich.

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The Isobel Journal By Isobel Harrop

The Isobel Journal By Isobel Harrop
Published November 7th 2013 By Hot Key Books

Disclaimer: Provided by publisher via Netgalley 


SummaryTHE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author’s sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: ‘Love’, ‘Friends, Art and Otters’ and ‘Me’.

Resonant of Laura Dockrill’s MISTAKES IN THE BACKGROUND and with the powerful naïve illustrative style of cult Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, this is a collector’s gift for teenagers and all who have the teenage experience still in their hearts. Readers will emphasise with this witty and honest journal of a girl getting to grips with impending adulthood. A must-have for all hipster teenagers and anyone who appreciates the raw creativity of youth. Enchanting and poignant. photo review_zps95cdca33.pngI love The Isobel Journal.

The Isobel Journal is essentially a scrapbook of Isobel’s life and follows her journey through adolescence and what she learns throughout the years about different things such as herself, friends, college, love and breaking up.

I resonated so much with Isobel. With the exception of impeccable drawing skills and creativity, I’ve been through most of the same things she’s gone through. I really liked that there were some explanation about the different pages of scrapbooks; I really liked going through her train of thought.

What I really loved about The Isobel Journal is of course, the scrapbook itself. It was so entertaining to go through Isobel’s life entirely drawn up in pictures of filled with little things like ticket stubs. I’ve not read much books in this format, but I am blown away by how wonderfully put together this book is.

Done in true journal form, and especially magnificent, The Isobel Journal is a must read for everyone; you’re bound to find yourself lost in the book and thinking about your own journey through adolescence.

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Love, Lex By Avery Aster

Love, Lex By Avery Aster
The Undergrad Years #1
Published April 14th 2014

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Giselle from Xpresso Reads. 


Summary: This summer, I’d planned to celebrate my eighteenth birthday in Europe with my fellow Manhattanites—Taddy Brill, Blake Morgan, and Vive Farnworth—until I caught my boyfriend screwing my mother. According to the police report, this vomit-inducing incident happened around the same time I’d supposedly blown-up my mother’s penthouse. Like I’m walking around Soho with a stick of dynamite in my Louis Vuitton purse—not! Now, my besties and I are in jail.

Officer Ford Gotti, the Harley-wheelin’ biker cop who arrested us, keeps sticking his perfectly-sculpted nose into my case. His inked body is jacked like a superhero, and he says I can trust him. He wants me to fess up. I won’t. Not again. Why should I? My friends and I had a previous stint in juvie that nearly destroyed us. I gotta protect them and keep my mouth shut. Right? —Lex Easton, women’s studies major, motorcycle enthusiast, and virgin.

The Undergrad Years is a New Adult contemporary miniseries about first loves, independence, and everlasting friendships.

Reader warning: Contains mature content intended for readers 17 and up.

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Okay, I’ve said it before. When it comes to New Adult, I tend to tread lightly. Before I begin, I’d like to remind you again that this does contain mature content so reader discretion is advised.

When I first read the synopsis, that was what pulled me in. It sounded like Gossip Girl with a bit more pizzazz. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the expectation I was having.

Love, Lex follows the story of Lex, who is desperate to lose her virginity to her boyfriend — only to find him fooling around with her mother. Later, while attempting to burn some old memories, Lex ends up blowing her mother’s penthouse down and getting thrown into jail.

Truthfully, I enjoyed the premise of it and I enjoyed the writing. It was witty and funny, which really added to the characterization of Lex. The concept and premise of the book was really interesting. Considering that this was a novella and only seven chapters long, it had pretty good content and was sufficient.

What took away the enjoyment for me was sadly, the sex. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve read New Adult and hand my two-off trial with Erotica so sex isn’t essentially the issue. But Lex reeked of desperation. She was so thirsty for sex that it became an eventual turn off. For somebody who is still a virgin, she knows a lot about sex (not that it’s a bad thing) and fantasizes a lot about it (and very quickly). The ending was alright for me, I kind of wanted more for Lex and felt that she deserved better.

Is this a book for everyone? Maybe, maybe not. But it doesn’t hurt for you to try. I do know that the next book is about one of her friends and her background seems interesting, so I may continue reading the series (I also liked the author’s writing).

I also understand that this is a prequel to a whole other series where they’re older (maybe? Don’t quote me on that) so perhaps, again, I might go on to that series. I’m keen to see what happens to Lex after this.


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Rebel Belle By Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle By Rachel Hawkins
Rebel Belle #1
Published April 8th 2014


Summary: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

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Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!

What a lovely joy ride Rebel Belle has been. Don’t let the pink girly cover fool you — Rebel Belle has more to offer than sweet pearl-wearing teenage girls.

Rebel Belle is the story of Harper Price who gains superhero powers after a traumatic turn of events (in a bathroom, no less). And of course she has to protect the one guy she hates the most: David Stark. In between preparing for cotillion, being President of the student body and boys, Harper now has to add kicking ass to her list of things to do.

Rebel Belle offered more action than I had expected. The book was incredibly fast paced filled with so much action, I don’t know where to begin to explain it. I really loved how action packed it was, it kept me flipping through the book in no time. The summary’s right; I’m begging for more!

I enjoyed Harper’s character as she tries to settle into these newfound powers and trying to save her nemesis. There was a bit of character growth throughout the book, where Harper went from queen bee, perfect Southern Belle, to trying to find herself and a deeper meaning to friendships and relationships. Harper was portrayed as someone perfect and an overachiever, but we later see that there are flaws in her and this humanizes her as she goes along.

There were a lot of fantasy/paranormal/witchcraft-type of elements in this book, which made it a lot more interesting than your average assassin book. As Harper didn’t know much about her new powers and Paladins and Oracles, it was so much fun trying to figure out what all of this is about with her. It feels like we went on this journey together from the get go.

Rebel Belle was wonderfully executed. There was a good mix of action, romance, friendships and relationships, mystery as well as character building all in one book. With the ending, I’m curious to see how the book continues. I wasn’t too crazy about the ending but the rest of the book was sufficient for me to give this book a 5/5 rating. I can’t wait to read the next book, I need more now! Highly recommended!

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One Broke Girl By Rhonda Helms

One Broke Girl by Rhonda Helms
Edgewood Falls #1
Published April 7th 2014

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Giselle from Xpresso Reads. 


Summary: Anna Parker’s life disintegrates with one phone call. Her dad’s selling their ritzy New York City condo because her Wall Street banker mom emptied their bank account and ran off with another man. Which means Anna has to drop out of her elite college and move with Dad back to their small Ohio hometown. Anna’s determined to reclaim her life ASAP, so she’ll use the next few months to save money, help Dad get back on his feet, and find and confront her mom.

But Anna doesn’t anticipate things going so wrong. The only job she can get is working as a lunch lady in an elementary school. Their money-pit duplex is falling apart around their feet. And her dad is depressed without her mom, who’s proving hard to find.

One bright spot in the chaos is Gavin Metcalf, a kindergarten teacher she dated when they were young teens. With his easy wit and sexy smiles, he makes her forget her stresses—and the fact that her boyfriend Steven back in New York doesn’t know the truth yet about her dire circumstances. When past and present collide, Anna has to decide where her future lies…

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I admit — I was a skeptic. Two chapters in, I was still on the fence, thinking why are you like this? but I take it back. I take it all back. One Broke Girl exceeded my expectations; when it comes to New Adult or contemporary, I tend to tread lightly but I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to review this. One Broke Girl reminds me a little of Gossip Girl meets Two Broke Girls. I know, I know, bear with me here.

One Broke Girl follows the journey of Anna Parker as she attempts to start over in her hometown of Edgewood Falls, far from her life of glitz and glamour in New York. Leaving behind her boyfriend and friends, Anna rediscovers the true meaning of living and rediscovers friendships (and more).

One thing I appreciated about One Broke Girl was Anna’s growth. Anna came across as spoiled, at the start, with her casually name-dropping the model of her car or bragging about the amount of money she mindlessly spent whilst shopping. I believed that Anna was going to be whiny and bratty about her life completely changing but she proved me wrong and stuck with what she said she would do. Anna worked hard, and later began to show signs of humanity and compassion for others rather than herself. The character development in the book was what kept me reading; it made me feel like a proud mama seeing how much Anna has changed as the story progresses on.

The characters in the story were so compelling. I particularly enjoyed Bianca’s “party girl with a heart” personality. The friendships built, and the growing relationship between Anna and her father were equally compelling and often heart warming. One Broke Girl was more character driven, and in this case, it worked. Because the characters were so interesting, you tend to forget what the actual problem was, and what Anna initially sought out to do. Instead, I wanted to follow her ’round, day by day.

Can I also just put it out there: Gavin Metcalf, you fox!

My only fault with this book was the writing. It did come across as juvenile in the first few chapters and not very streamlined, with awkward transitional train of thoughts but it gets better, much much better. I realized that the “juvenile” aspect of it was important — it showed Anna’s growth, though I don’t know if that was the author’s intention. It worked well in this case because Anna was, at that time, ignorant and behaved like a child, to which justifies the way the first few chapters were done.

One Broke Girl is a quick-paced contemporary and an overall good book. This was my first Rhonda Helms book and I’m already addicted. I can’t wait for the next book (which is out in June 2014)! I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a quick read or on a contemporary kick — I know this book has kicked me out of my reading slump!

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