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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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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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