Category: Reviews

Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 413
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Ames: Rowena and I were originally going to read Cora Carmack’s July new release, All Closed Off. But we had a little discussion about this book as it had already been delayed so we chose a back-up book, When It’s Real. Although it wasn’t released during July, it was a newish book that neither of us had read yet. I’m glad we decided on a back up book because All Closed Off was delayed again.

When It’s Real features the fake celebrity relationship trope. Vaughn is hired as the everyday girlfriend for young pop star Oakley Ford. Oakley needs a girlfriend for reasons. The only reason Vaughn goes along with this crazy scheme is to help her family out. They’re orphans after their parents died in an accident and they’ve been making ends meet but barely. Vaughn actually graduated from high school early so she could take some time off before heading to college. Oakley is only going along with the scheme to ingratiate himself with a producer he really wants to work with. He is not keen on this arrangement and at first he acts like a real ass with Vaughn. But Vaughn is not impressed with his fame or his attitude and Oakley comes around to acting like a human being. As they get to know each other, their fake relationship starts to feel real. But is it?

Okay Wena, what did you think of When It’s Real? I read this book right after I read another fake relationship book (with older adults) and let me tell you, this book was hands down the better read. I loved Vaughn and Oakley’s dynamic. I like that they didn’t like each other at first but then Vaughn slowly started to humanize Oakley. I really liked Vaughn. And to be honest, I pictured Harry Styles for Oakley. LOL That may not be where the authors were intending to go with his character, but that’s who I saw. And I may have listened to Sign of the Times a time or ten…million. haha

Rowena: What did I think? I adored this book and when I finished, I was bummed because I didn’t want the book to end. I thought Oakley and Vaughn were awesome characters and an adorable couple. I really liked how their relationship turned from hate to friendship then finally, to love.

I really like Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy’s writing style. They write books together really well. I don’t think I’ve read a book that I haven’t been utterly obsessed with (whether I’ve been pissed off or in freaking love) and that wasn’t any different with this book. The flow of the story worked for me and the dialogue, man I loved the dialogue. You can always count on Frederick and Kennedy to pack on the drama and we got plenty of that here, lots and lots of drama that I could not get enough of.

Harry Styles is a great Oakley…well, without his accent but still, I could totally see it. I love Harry.

I’m really happy about our choice of buddy review book this month. It was so freaking good. It took the sting out of yet another delay for All Closed Off.

Ames: I didn’t want the book to end either! And it wasn’t just the main characters. I loved the secondary characters too, like Oak’s bodyguard buddy and Vaughn’s family. I like how Oak was with her younger brothers. And thought the secondary romance was very cute too.

My only complaint (and its a small one) is how the issue at the end of was dealt with, with the meddling into their relationship. Like it was kind of brushed aside (I’ll deal with you later!” kind of thing) but I wanted to see those people deal with the repercussions of what they did. It was so unprofessional, you know?

Rowena: Yeah. I really liked that the secondary characters held their own with my attention. There have been quite a few books where I couldn’t tell you much about the secondary characters but that wasn’t the case with Vaughn’s family and even Oakley’s. I liked seeing Oakley’s Mom trying to make things right with him and I liked seeing Oakley handle the situation with his Dad. I also liked seeing how he made a family for himself with his bodyguards.

Ugh, I wanted to punch Luke, the bassist so many times because he was such a terrible human being. I was glad when Oakley finally tossed his ass to the curb. The whole misunderstanding at the end should have had bigger consequences, considering who he was but it did make me wonder if that ever happened in real life. Do you think? Also, how did it end? Do we find out if they were punished, fired, or whatever?

Ames: Luke was the worst! And so was Oakley’s dad. I did like that his mom was redeemable.

And no, I don’t think we ever found out what happened! Do we know if there’s going to be a series or was this a stand-alone? I ask because maybe there would be some follow up in another book? I don’t know.

So I loved When It’s Real and really enjoyed it. So I’m giving this a 4.25 out of 5. I highly recommend this one.

Rowena: Yes!!! He totally was. It was nice that Oakley’s Mom actually wanted to fix their relationship and wasn’t as we thought she’d be after hearing about her from Oakley.

I don’t think there’s going to be another book or a series. I thought this was a standalone book.

This was a fun book that I really enjoyed and I’m so glad that we chose it. I adored Oakley and I loved Vaughn. I also loved that Vaughn was from El Segundo since that’s about 15 minutes from where I live and the day that I started this book, I was having dinner on Main Street in El Segundo so I had a little dorky moment while looking out the restaurant window, thinking about Oakley and Vaughn. Ha!

I give this book a 4.25 out of 5 as well. Such a great book!

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren

Posted July 12, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Buddy Review: Dating You, Hating You by Christina LaurenDating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books on June 6th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 350
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Goodreads
four-stars

All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

Rowena: This month’s buddy review with my book bestie, Bookish Ames is Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren. I have never tried anything by Christina Lauren before and Ames thought that I should so I started my reading journey through Christina Lauren’s backlist with this one.

Dating You, Hating You follows Carter and Evie as they try to figure out how to be together while working together. They had their first date and it went well so they both were looking forward to seeing where dating would take them but when they show up for work on Monday, they find out that their companies have merged and they are now competing against each other to keep their jobs.

Lots and lots of shenanigans happen and overall, I enjoyed the book even though it wasn’t the most original of plots.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I agree. After their super meet cute (I loved how they met) and the sabotage shenanigans started I was reminded of the Hating Game by Sally Thorne. But you know what? I think that dynamic works for me. It creates a believable tension and it’s funny to see two characters match wits with each other. I do have a confession though. I never read the blurb for this book, so going into it blind, I thought it was a New Adult. haha Whoops. So when I started reading about a 30 year old woman I was like “WTF?”

Anyway. Speaking of Evie. I really liked her character. She lives in LA and works for an agency representing actors and actresses. For all that that industry puts a focus on looks, I liked Evie’s confidence. She didn’t focus on her looks and was all about getting the job done. And done well. She was great at her job. So I felt her frustration when her boss kept giving her the short end of the stick. And Carter was a good character too. He definitely had some growth happening with his character. Especially in regards to the sexism in their office. But he grew. And he was cute. These two really learned a lot about each other when they were fighting.

Rowena: I thought their Harry Potter meet-up was cute, too. There were lots of similarities between The Hating Game and Dating You, Hating You but the stories had enough differences that I had no problem enjoying them separately.

LOL, after seeing the cover, I thought it was a New Adult book but not after reading the blurb.

Like you, I enjoyed both Evie and Carter. I liked that Evie never questioned her worth at work once Carter came on board. She knew that she was good but she also knew that being a woman would not benefit her the way being a man benefited Carter. Her frustration was real to me and I even liked the way that Carter felt her frustration and understood it as well. I like the tension between them at work because they sure did light the sheets up after work. Haha.

I liked that in this story, Evie and Carter had already started dating and wanted to continue dating but didn’t know how to go about that in the new circumstances that they found themselves in. I liked that the conflict for Carter was about how to make it work with Evie because he wanted to. Because he really liked her.

This book was a lot of fun and I’m definitely going to read more from this author.

Any gripes?

Ames: Before I get into gripes, I want to talk about the secondary characters. Evie and Carter each had their own friends who I felt were flushed out characters that they had real interactions with. Evie getting upset over Carter’s shenanigans? Her friends would come over and help her drown her sorrows. Carter had friends that were a married couple that were always inserting themselves into his situation with Evie in a good way. Even Carter’s brother had a little bit of a story arc going on. I really liked how these characters made this a fuller story.

Now my gripe. As I’m reading this book, published in 2017, I had a very real WHAT THE FUCK moment over some racism that was very casually and VERY uselessly inserted into this story. There’s a scene at a party when one of Carter and Evie’s coworker made a reference to her and Evie being Eskimo sisters.

WTF

I haven’t heard this term before but I didn’t feel good reading it in that context. In Canada, we do not use the term Eskimo. We refer to our Northern brothers and sisters as Inuit. Second, the meaning behind this term (look it up on Urban Dictionary if you haven’t heard of it before) – its demeaning to Inuit people and to women. I was shocked to see this and it definitely pulled me out of the story. And I wonder how the editor/publisher didn’t flag this? I felt like the context in which this term was used was pretty useless to the story.

I don’t feel like this term was used in a malicious way, I think it just may be an awareness (or lack of awareness) issue on the authors’ behalf. Consider this a teachable moment and do better going forward.

What about you, any issues with story?

Rowena: I agree with you about the secondary characters. I enjoyed Evie and Carter’s friends and Carter’s brother. I liked that they had their own people and weren’t always in each other’s pockets and that those people felt real and fleshed out. I also liked that they had a friend in common, who didn’t want to take sides and was on both of their teams.

I was completely ignorant of that saying “Eskimo sisters” before you told me but in the context that it’s used in the book, I agree that it is racist and that it didn’t move the story along or add anything to the story as a whole so it wasn’t necessary to use.

As for me, aside from that, I can’t say that I had any gripes with the book. It was entertaining, the characters were well written and the romance was pretty steamy. All of that makes for a happy Rowena so, all in all, this was a great first book for me. I would give this one a 4 out of 5. You?

Ames: I agree with your rating, 4 out of 5. Despite that one WTF moment, I was really happy with the story overall. I liked the humor over the shenanigans and even the dog! Great characters and loved their sexual tension.

four-stars


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Review: Riverdale, Season 1

Posted June 8, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Starring: K.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Case Cott
Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Release Date: January 26, 2017
Rating: TV-14
Run Time: 45min
TV Type: Crime, Drama, Mystery

After the death of one of the rich and popular Blossom twins on 4th July, the small town of Riverdale investigates the murder. The series starts in September, the beginning of a new school year that brings new students, relationships and reveals the mysteries of the past 4th July.

Riverdale is the show that took the slot that Vampire Diaries had for the longest time. For the last eight years I was all about the Salvatore brothers, Stefan mostly, but there were times when I had mad Damon love so when that show ended, I had to find another show to fill that spot. Riverdale started making the promo rounds and I started looking up the characters, and after watching the trailer, I was sold. Riverdale is a darker version of the Archie comics. It’s the Archie comics come to life, in a darker town with loads and loads of secrets.

I’m so glad that I started this show because it’s the perfect replacement for Vampire Diaries. The whole show is ripe with teen angst, sexy characters and mysteries to solve.

This season’s mystery is trying to find out who killed Jason Blossom. Every week, there was a new suspect and every week, I thought the killer was someone new. The only person that I never thought was guilty of killing Jason was the stupid pedophile teacher, Miss Grundy. I’m glad her relationship with Archie didn’t last long because I hate the teacher and student love match storyline. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But I liked the way that this story played out over the course of the season. Everyone was a suspect and my jaw literallly dropped when we found out who it really was.

There was a lot of bombs that are dropped each week and I really liked how the writers did that. There was plenty to keep us guessing, keep us invested and I’m so glad that I watched it. I have loads of questions that need answering and I’m hoping Season 2 will supply the answers.

I want to know why the killer killed Jason. I want to know how the gun got into FP’s trailer. I want to know if Kevin’s Dad is a bad cop. I want to where Jughead will go and what happens to him now after his world imploded. What happens now for Cheryl? How are things going to change with Veronica’s father coming back? So many different questions for next season.

Favorite Episode: The pilot. The whole freaking episode was just one shocking revelation after one shocking revelation and in the end, you were still left with so many questions.

Favorite Character: Jughead. I love his ornery, hates to be around other people but so stinkin’ smart ass. Jughead is loyal and he’s conflicted but at his core, there’s a goodness in him that nobody else on the show has. My heart hurt for him at every turn. He had every opportunity and reason to be that bad kid but not Jughead. He’s grumpy and a smart mouth but he’s so much more than that too. Honorable Mention: Cheryl Blossom. Nobody serves bitchy clap backs the way that Cheryl does. She’s a classy bitch and I’m so here for everything that comes out of her mouth.

Favorite Ship: Archie and Betty = Barchie. I’m probably the only person that ships these two together but as great as the couples going on right now are, none of them hit me right in my feels the way that Archie and Betty did in this scene:



I’m a sucker for that unrequited love storyline and I can’t wait to see how this ship sails…

Overall, season 1 of Riverdale was compelling and it was shocking and just everything that I love in a teeny bopper drama. I loved all of the relationship drama between everyone and I loved Dark Betty and every day Cheryl and I really loved that in this version of the comics, Betty and Veronica are great friends. I’m super thrilled that there will be a Season 2 and I’ve got high hopes for it.

If you’re looking for a new ansty teen drama, you should give this one a go. It’s good, I promise.

TV Trailer

My Rating


4 out of 5


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