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Sad Girls By Lang Leav

Sad Girls by Lang Leav
Published 30 May 2017 By Andrews McMeel Publishing

Goodreads

Summary: “Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.”

Sad Girls is the much anticipated debut novel from international best-selling author Lang Leav. A beautifully written and emotionally charged coming of age story, where young love, dark secrets, and tragedy collide.

School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad—the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?

 

Since the day that Lang Leav revealed that she was working on her debut novel, I was already clutching on to my pearls. I knew it was going to be frickin’ good.

I WAS NOT WRONG.

Before you go on thinking that this is a completely biased review, hold on to your horses because it isn’t. I don’t read what I don’t like but Sad Girls, yes, Sad Girls I loved.

There is something so poetic about the way Lang writes. Of course, if you didn’t know her already she’s a poet. I’m sure by now you’ve seen her artwork or poetry floating around twitter, tumblr and instagram but I have loved her work since she released Love & Misadventure. In fact, I’ve already met her thrice. (Read my review on her second poetry book, Lullabies!)

Sad Girls begins with our main protagonist, Audrey, admitting that she did something wrong. She told a lie and now Ana, one of her classmates is dead. The book follows through her struggle to cope with the lie she’s told, her newly found anxiety and then, she meets a boy.

Cliche, am I right? Just wait for it.

Audrey and Rad found each other in a moment of grief. They had an unspoken bound between them that they needed to stay with each other out of necessity. They are two very broken, very lost individuals who needed someone who help carry them forward. This relationship that happened between the two were the natural reactions of two sad souls, desperate for something to hold on to — and in this case, each other. Their romance was a natural progression: in fact, they cut ties from each other, both trying to find their own way through life alone and then later rekindled their love many months later.

Sad Girls talks about mental illness, drug abuse, death and a little bit of LGBTQ+. There are so many diverse characters in this book, each playing a very significant role in Audrey’s life. Almost all the characters in this book is flawed — especially Audrey and that’s what makes Sad Girls a little bit more realistic than the rest. Everyone, even the adults, are just people who are trying their best to get by. It’s not complicated; it’s just reality.

Of course there are times when I felt that Audrey had it too easy (like her job and internship) but it is what helped to drive the story along. I sat on this review for a while because I needed to process the whole book. I loved it, and its easily on of my favourite books of 2017 but there is one glaring problem with Audrey: I still don’t know why she told the lie.

I’d love to see Sad Girls made into a film (I could already picture the scenes in my head while reading this) or even a companion book told in Ana’s point of view. I feel like the epilogue left me longing for more. There’s so much about Ana that we don’t know (only told from the perspective of the other characters) and I feel like she could be an interesting character for us to learn more about.

Sad Girls will be on my mind for a long time to come. Pick it up, read it, and then reread it again.

A lot of literature is about struggle. But I don’t think all writers are sad. I think it’s the other way around — all sad people write. It’s a form of catharsis, a way of working through things that feel unresolved, like undoing a knot. People who are prone to sadness are more likely to pick up a pen.

Sad Girls by Lang Leav

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Private Internship By Kitsy Clare

Private Internship By Kitsy Clare
Published 29 Sept 2014

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

Goodreads

SummarySometimes sugar isn’t so sweet and secrets can be deadly . . . especially with matters of the heart.

Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna get the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty, practically shirtless and swinging from chains as he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish testing Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.

She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.

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I really loved the first book Model Position. If you’ve read my review you’ll know that I found this to be one of the better New Adult books in the market.

And in similar fashion, Private Internship does not disappoint.

When I first started Private Internship, I wasn’t sure if I was going to love it. I fell in love with Model Position and Sienna’s relationship with Erik. So when things began blossoming between Sienna and her boss, I wanted so badly to hate it. I hated Sienna for ruining a perfectly wonderful relationship. But I realised I couldn’t — the more I turned the pages, the more I wanted to root for Sienna and Caz.

There’s something about Caz and the quirky way he is that makes me both love and hate him. He’s annoying, but he’s such a sweetheart to Sienna that you can almost overlook all his annoying ways.

Admittedly, Private Internship ended up being even more enjoyable than Model Position. The mystery surrounding Caz and his past was incredibly enjoyable and it kept me guessing to the end. Just like Model Position, Private Internship had more depth to it and it was more than just about romance and sex, but it dug deep into Caz’s past and his recovery. Personally, I felt that Private Internship had a better story, but Model Position was certainly more charming and romantic.

I would recommend for you to pick up both Model Position and Private Internship as they’re both really good fast-paced books. This duology is a series, with recurring characters but they are two completely different books so you can still choose to read one without the other.

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Scratch By Rhonda Helms

Scratch by Rhonda Helms
Publication Date: Sept 30th 2014

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

Goodreads

SummaryThe most painful scars are the ones you never see. 

In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that’s the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she’s reserved, practical-all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person. But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she’s put up. Like Casey, he’s a senior. In every other way, he’s her opposite.

Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings. For some reason Casey can’t fathom, he’s intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that’s messy and unpredictable. He doesn’t know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach – or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.

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Scratch had a strange magnetic pull on me. It’s a book that’s simple and romantic, yet captivating.

Scratch had likable characters. I liked the main character, Casey and felt that her story was incredibly compelling. Although Scratch is a simple and light read, it explores some dark themes and how it affected Casey growing up. Casey is frustrating: she constantly has her guard up and takes people on an emotional roller coaster. In parts, she’s unintentionally mean. But she’s human — she learns, she accepts and she grows. The character development was evident and made her seem more relatable.

I really liked how there was mystery surrounding Casey’s past. It kept me guessing and turning pages. The ending was heartbreaking — Casey’s character development shone through towards the end, and her facing up to her childhood trauma and taking charge was brave and applaudable. It was intense, heartbreaking but encouraging.

I loved the romance between Daniel and Casey. Daniel is a gentleman and incredibly sweet (though he has his flaws, to which he acknowledges) and I really loved their connection. They do fall in love pretty quick, but it isn’t insta-love which I appreciated. Their relationship was a lot of work but they made it work.

Scratch is quite fast paced and hooks you in almost immediately. It was emotional, romantic but simple enough to read on a lazy day. I’ve enjoyed Rhonda Helms’ previous writing and similarly I have nothing but praise. I would definitely recommend Scratch for contemporary romance lovers.

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Pieces of it All By Tracy Krimmer

Pieces of it All By Tracy Krimmer
Published May 9th 2014

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

SummaryAn alcoholic. A scarred man. A thief.

Harvey, a twenty-two-year-old high school drop-out arrives home, a brief stint in rehab behind him and ready to start his life again. Then he meets Beth and her innocence and her desire to have it all capture him completely.

A girl on the cusp of womanhood. Determined. A bright future.

Beth, a recent high school graduate among the top in her class, can’t wait to get to college and fulfill her dreams. Then she meets Harvey and with his mysterious past, he stirs feelings in her she can’t ignore.

The chemistry between them is unmistakable but Harvey doesn’t trust easily and refuses to divulge his past to Beth though she wants to be a part of his future.

The pieces of their lives lie broken all around them, but can Harvey put his life back together and win Beth over before she begins her new life without him? And can Beth find the strength to become the woman she wants to be without sacrificing her integrity?

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Remember when they used to tell you don’t judge a book by its cover? Yeah, this book is exactly that.

Admittedly the cover isn’t the most gorgeous thing, but it’s story is something worth reading. I went into this a little skeptical, but I sooned got immersed in the story.

The main premise of this story is about Harvey who just got out of rehab and college bound Beth who fell in love at first sight. Their story started out typically, they met, fell in love instantly and embarked on a too-fast-too-soon relationship. I really hated Beth at the start. I hated the insta-love and how incredibly stupid she is for defending a guy she knew for three seconds (exaggeration, but still). Beth is intelligent. She’s one of those good girls that hasn’t had much experience in the dating field and as Harvey describes her, pure. But meeting Harvey made her stupid. She allowed her sexual awakening do her thinking for her. It was clear that this relationship sparked out of lust. And there was no love. I was angry; at Harvey for being a prick, at Beth who just wouldn’t question anything he says or does. It was a destructive relationship and it frustrated me.

But I supposed its this destructive relationship that moulded the story and made it interesting. It was interesting to know what they did apart and at some point were even more likeable apart.

There’s nothing in particular to pick at with this book, but I did have a slight problem with the alternating voices. It didn’t feel very balanced and I felt like I was hearing more about Beth than Harvey. I would have liked to see him having more interactions with his former friends or what kind of life he led outside of the memories with his dad.

I enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing change for me. It’s no secret that I’m generally cautious of New Adult as a genre and having it too focused on sex. While the idea of lust and sexual awakenings were discussed, a large majority of it focused on other issues, keeping sex scenes to a minimal. I appreciated that it discussed sex in a relationship, losing your virginity and exploring willingness/consent. Overall a solid contemporary with a captivating plot.

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Model Position By Kitsy Clare

Model Position By Kitsy Clare
Published February 20th 2014 by Inkspell Publishing

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

Goodreads

SummaryFor Sienna, love and art are perilous games. Is she ready to take that gamble?

Sienna is a beautiful, talented artist poised on the precipice of soaring into the glamorous, yet cutthroat Manhattan art scene.

Dave Hightower is a hooked-up, handsome heir to the hippest gallery in NYC, Gallery Hightower.

Erik is the live drawing model with his sizzling green eyes fixed only on Sienna.

Three’s a crowd, so Sienna must make a choice: date Dave and ride the fast track to landing a show at Gallery Hightower and hobnobbing with the art glitterati, or follow her heart and take a chance with Erik, the stunning male model who’s stealing her heart. But Erik has some worrisome secrets, and who in their right mind would make live modeling their career? 

Dare Sienna throw away her chances of hitting it big to follow her heart?

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I’m always surprised when I find a good New Adult book. I’ve always been so wary of New Adult; not a lot of them are of my taste. But Model Position blew me away.

The first thing that captured me was the writing. The writing was intelligent and I’m glad that the characters were equally intelligent. I’m very fond of the characters: they weren’t silly or busy trying to get themselves laid (only). They were goal oriented and were self-aware of their decisions and its outcomes. They were smart and had charming conversations. It was never mentioned how old the characters are (or was it? Correct me if I’m wrong), though I’m assuming they’re around their twenties.

I haven’t read any books set in grad school nor art courses so Model Position was a breath of fresh air. It was interesting to read about art galleries and talking about Artists I didn’t even know about. Model Position was a good mix of chasing dreams and falling in love, two components which made for a great book.

There is a little bit of insta-love, or rather, insta-lust, but seeing how Model Position is a novella, it does work in their favour. The romance between Sienna and Erik moved at a slow pace, so despite the immediate connection, there was much room for the relationship to blossom. I really enjoyed seeing them chase after each other and the way they called each other their muses.

I loved the ending, it was so sweet and passionate; going into such detail wasn’t even necessary. The connection between Sienna and Erik is enough.

Overall, Model Position was a great book. The romance wasn’t overdone and there was a good balance in between being a student and all that entails with it. Would recommend this for anyone who likes contemporary romance!

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Yours Truly, Taddy By Avery Aster

Yours Truly, Taddy By Avery Aster
The Undergrad Years #2
Published April 15th 2014

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

Goodreads

SummaryJetting to Martinique for a modeling assignment with three of Europe’s hottest magazine photographers—Gustave, Fabian, and Leon—should’ve been easy, breezy beautiful. Never did I expect to look up and see a hole in the ceiling of our plane that was bigger in size than my Birkin bag.

Shit! We’re nose-diving toward Eden Island. I pictured how my New York Times obituary might read when I’m gone, “Taddy Brill, Manhattanite, dethroned descendant of the Austrian House of Brillford royalty, dies at age eighteen, penniless, unloved, and a virgin.” I swear this crap only happens to me. Suddenly, Leon pulls me with Fabian and Gustave. Adrenaline racing through me, our bodies clung as one. We prepared to…crash. 

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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I thought Yours Truly, Taddy would be different from Love, Lex, but alas, it wasn’t.

(And I am not at all a fan of the cover. Why, oh, why!)

It’s safe to say that I did enjoy Yours Truly, Taddy a little bit more than Love, Lex. Having read Love, Lex, I’ve become somewhat accustomed to the way these characters behave and the way the book generally is. Suffice to say that I am not the target audience. It’s simply one of those it’s not you, it’s me books.

Taddy’s comes from a family that is rich but absent; the book focuses on her taking up a modeling job so she could pay for her tuition to go to University with her friends. What I liked about Taddy is that she’s somewhat humble. All she wants is the company of her best friends and she works hard for her money. Taddy was flying to her next shoot when the plane crashes and whisked her and her friends stranded in Eden (this fancy island that’s owned by a billionaire).

Here’s where the book becomes predictable: the losing of virginity, the imaginative mind, the inevitable sexual encounters. Love, Lex was of similar fashion. When it comes down to it, it was less personality; it was more sexual awakening.

I enjoy Avery Aster’s writing. She’s funny and has the ability to make her characters come to life. There’s no filter, when it comes to these group of friends. For me, it wasn’t the plot: it was the characters. I continued reading for the characters and not for the plot.

Unlike Love, Lex, Taddy underwent some character growth. She appreciated herself more and really embraced the friendship she’s built with her group of friends. At the end of the book, she sends a letter to the people who has helped her get back on her feet which really showed her growth and maturity.

Yours Truly, Taddy was certainly better than Love, Lex. Though predictable, it has its merits (Taddy being the better character and Aster’s writing) and I know many people seem to really enjoy the series.

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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. 

Goodreads

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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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. 

Goodreads

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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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. 

Goodreads

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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Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli

Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iocopelli
Outer Banks Tennis Academy #1
Published May 1st 2013 by Coliloquy, LLC
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Summary: Nestled along the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks Tennis Academy is the world’s most elite training facility. In this pressure-cooker environment, futures are forged in blood and sweat, and dreams are shattered in an instant.

Penny Harrison, a rising female star, is determined to win the French Open and beat her arch-rival, Zina Lutrova. But when her coach imports British bad boy Alex Russell as her new training partner, will Penny be able to keep her laser-like focus?

Tennis is all Jasmine Randazzo has ever known. The daughter of two Grand Slam champions, she’s hell-bent on extending her family’s legacy and writing her own happily-ever-after…until her chosen Prince Charming gives her the just-friends speech right before the biggest junior tournament of the year, the Outer Banks Classic.

With a powerful serve and killer forehand, newcomer Indiana Gaffney is turning heads. She’s thrilled by all of the attention, especially from Jack Harrison, Penny’s agent and hot older brother, except he keeps backing off every time things start heating up.

With so much at stake, dreams—and hearts—are bound to break. Welcome to OBX: Where LOVE is a four-letter word, on and off the court.

Review: Finally, my first read for the Debut Author Challenge 2013!

Game. Set. Match. was surprisingly hard to put down. I love tennis, so naturally the premise intrigued me enough to pick the book up. I’ve never actually read much sports-related books, despite my love for it and to my surprise, this book was very well written and completely sucked me in. This book is told in three different perspectives: Penny Harrison (golden girl of OBX), Jasmine Randazzo (child of tennis royalty) and Indiana “Indy” Gaffney (upcoming tennis prodigy).

One of the main things I liked about this book was how it was a good blend of tennis and an exploration of their lives. I find that even if I didn’t like or know anything about tennis, I’d still be able to understand and pick up all the different tennis terminologies used in the book. It wasn’t so tennis-heavy, such that each page was just tournament after tournament so it doesn’t get boring and when there is a tournament, it gets really exciting. The descriptions of the game throughout the book was lovely. I was able to imagine the game happening in my head and I really enjoyed that about the book.

Apart from all the tennis, a good portion of the book is dedicated to the relationships the characters have, with each other, their agent and all that comes with being a professional tennis player. We get to see how these three main characters’ lives intertwine with each other and how they cope with the pressure and even some locker room drama. And of course, the romance. We get not only one, but three different romantic links and we begin to see how things progress throughout the book. There wasn’t any insta-love, that happens quite frequently in YA books and for a book that has three romances going on, all three love lines were well written, well thought and well developed.

The one thing that bothered me about this book was Indy’s excessive use of the word friggin which made her look incredibly juvenile. I found that her description of her love interest was already so cheesy and her saying someone is friggin hot made me roll my eyes and laugh. I don’t know if this is supposed to be her “pet word” of sorts, but it seemed a little much and unnecessary, considering how Indy is actually already pretty cool.

I also found the ending a little bit cheesy but considering it is the first book in the series, it’s not too big of an issue. Overall, Game. Set. Match. was a very good read and I’m really looking forward to see how the series picks up.