Tag: Young Adult

Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

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: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Posted May 31, 2017 by Rowena & Bookish Ames in Reviews | 10 Comments

Buddy Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 388
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Goodreads
four-stars

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Ames: Rowena and I decided to read Alex, Approximately for our May buddy review.

Bailey Rydell has moved to California from DC to live with her father. She has an online friend who lives in the same small town but since she’s an Artful Dodger (she avoids confrontation and awkward situations), she wants to scope out her online friend before introducing herself. But first she has to figure out who he is since they’ve never shared pictures. Over the course of their online friendship, he has revealed clues about where he works, so Bailey’s summer project is discovering Alex, her friend. Things get complicated when she meets Porter at her new summer job. They do not get off to a good start. But what started off with animosity slowly changes as they get to know each other.

Ames: All right Wena! It’s time to break this baby down. I have to say, I really enjoyed the set up for Alex, Approximately. There was so much room for error with this type of plot but I thought the author pulled it off.

What do you think?

Rowena: Yesss! I was pretty nervous going into the story because there is a lot of room for error but I thought Bennett did a great job with Porter and Bailey’s story. I enjoyed them both individually and together.

So many times, I’m annoyed with the protagonist in contemporary YA’s because they make such stupid decisions at one point or another but I wasn’t ever annoyed with Bailey in this book. I thought Bennett explained and made sure that the readers knew and understood Bailey’s motivations and I really connected with her character.

This book was fun and Porter was great fun to get to know. I really liked the friend that Bailey made at work (what’s her name again?) and loved how she called Bailey on her shit the way good friends should.

What about you?

Ames: Grace, her new friend at work. And yes, I liked her too. Her friendship with Grace was refreshing because her character growth wasn’t based solely on a boy. It was about all her relationships. Like even her dad and her had to work on some stuff and I really liked how well rounded that made this story.

I agree about YA heroines having the potential to be annoying. I liked Bailey a lot and understood her motivations. I thought she was being a bit dense at the end but I still like how it all came together. My only gripe about Bailey was her making a big deal out of hiding her relationship with Porter from her dad and then her reveal made it such a non issue. But that’s just a minor gripe. And oh man I laughed over the hickeys! Remember she tells her dad she was wrestling with Grace in the grass? haha

Okay – Porter and Bailey. I LOVED how their relationship developed. I liked their antagonistic beginning and how as they got to know each other their feelings changed. *sigh* So good.

Rowena: What an easy name to remember and I didn’t remember. Gah. Yes, I adored Grace and loved that this book was about more than just a relationship between a boy and a girl. I loved that Bailey dealt with all sorts of different relationships over the course of this book and each relationship was fleshed out and not breezed over to move other things along. Every character in this book was well rounded and I really enjoyed them all, even her Dad. His relationship with the new girlfriend was another cute addition. I loved that each relationship played a part in helping Bailey grow into the girl she was in the end.

The hickeys cracked me up! Porter was a little monster but I loved it. Haha. I also loved when he beat the shit out of Davy because Davy was an all around asshole.

Overall, this was a great coming of age story with a charming romance on the side. I really enjoyed how the whole Alex thing was put to rest and even though they both drove me crazy with that, in the end, I still enjoyed the book as a whole. It was good stuff. Great pick this month, right?

My grade for this book would be a 4 out of 5. You?

Ames: Oh man, yes! The end, with the figuring out of things, kind of drove me batty. I felt like Bailey was being just a bit too obtuse. LOL But I was happy with how it was all resolved so I wasn’t too miffed about it.

Okay, I have never had a churro. So that’s going to go on my summer bucket list. I like how the food was part of the story too. Did you notice that?

Like you I am giving Alex, Approximately 4 out of 5. I’m so glad you suggested this book for our May review. 😛

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

Posted November 3, 2016 by Rowena & Bookish Ames in Reviews | 7 Comments

twisted-palace

Bookish Ames is one of my best friends and we used to buddy review books together all the time. We’ve slowed down on that so I’m happy that we decided to bring it back on our blogs. Our very first buddy review book is Twisted Palace by Erin Watt because it’s a book that we were both pretty anxious for and it’s a discussion worthy book so here is our review.

Twisted Palace by Erin Watt
Series: The Royals #3
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Erin Watt
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

Rowena: Twisted Palace is the third and I think, concluding book in the Royals series by Erin Watt. The Royals have certainly taken us on a crazy reading adventure and after the cliff-hanger from the last book, Broken Prince, I was really looking forward to digging into this one.

When we last left off with this group of characters, people were dying and coming back from the dead and our favorite punk ass, Reed Royal was the main suspect in a murder. There was plenty to tackle in this book and I went in without any hesitation.

So, what were your initial thoughts of the book?

Ames: To be completely honest, I was disappointed. The first two books were such guilty fun pleasures to read that I was really looking forward to see how it would all get wrapped up. Especially with the cliffhangers at the end of book 2! I was wondering who the baby daddy was going to be and I had predicted that this person was going to be the murderer. And that wasn’t the case at all! Plus with the introduction of a certain character, it really changed the dynamic of the story and took page time away from Easton and the other Royals. I would have rather seen Ella’s relationship develop even further with the Royal brothers than what happened with the new character. That’s what made the first 2 books enjoyable to me. Ella’s relationship with the brothers.

What about you, what were your initial thoughts?

Rowena: Same. This book was a let down for me because my frustrations from the first two books was completely different from my frustrations with this one. The guilty fun pleasures from Paper Princess and Broken Prince were missing in this one and there were so many things that I wasn’t a fan of. I would keep going but I would just be repeating everything you said so I’ll just say this. Ditto to everything you said. I feel the same way.

What were your thoughts on Ella?

I thought she was not the same Ella that we’re used to. This girl lived on her own, as a stripper and survived that first year of school like a boss and then this guy shows up and all of a sudden, she’s not that girl anymore. She’s this stranger with no backbone that is all whiny. No. Ella is strong and she’s very vocal about what she wants and needs. She was never about money or living off the Royals. She was very adamant about working and making her own money and the Ella that I admired the hell out of from the first two books was gone.

It was disappointing to see Ella come so far and then regress so much in one book.

Ames: I agree with you about Ella. And that’s all to blame on a certain character. He screwed it all up. And that’s the thing, with the first two books, these teenagers had little oversight from parental units and they came across as more mature and not really kids. And then bam, in this book it’s shoved in our face that Ella is a teenager and I found that hard to deal with.

The other thing? Two characters, Jordan and Dinah, that came across as real villains in the first 2 books were also changed in this installment. I missed Ella and Jordan going head to head. Ella really came out shining after encounters with Jordan and she didn’t get that in this book. Especially with her sneaking around antics…there was nothing to root for for her. Not even with the murder. Just so frustrating.

Rowena: Can we talk about how immature and bratty two grown ass men who were also NAVY SEALS were? Gosh, I wanted to punch both of them! Mostly the guy that shall not be named. He came onto the scene and just kind of took over and I hated how everyone just let him. I would have been like, “No bitch, you don’t run things here.”

The book as a whole was just disappointing to me. From Ella’s lack of spine, the other Royal brothers not getting any page time and the big killer reveal, the whole thing just felt flat and was so different from what I was hoping the concluding story would be.

I will say that my favorite thing about the book was the growth that we see in Reed’s character. When we first met him, way back in book 1, I liked him but I kind of hated that I liked him because he was such a dickhead. Especially to Ella and when they kicked her out of the car and made her walk home, I wanted to punch both Reed and Easton in the nuts. I was so mad and yet so intrigued by all of the chaos and just royally messed up characters but in Twisted Palace, Reed came full circle for me. I really loved seeing the change and just the maturity of how he carried himself in this book. Even when he was flying off the handle and beating people up, I still thought that he showed a lot of restraint. Well, more than we’ve seen from him before.

What was your favorite thing about the book? Did you have any? 🙂

Ames: Reed did show some improvement. But how tough was that to read about all the people saying things about him? I hated that but it shows how he’s changed from that guy he used to be. But still at the core he didn’t change that much, he’s still a badass and don’t you dare say anything about those he loves!

So even though the main plot disappointed me, I still found Twisted Palace readable and I wanted to see what happened to all these characters. What I truly enjoyed was how Ella was growing a circle of friends who were truly there for her. She came from nothing and having to rely on herself to opening up and learning that there are people who will have her back, no matter what. I liked that.

Rowena: Yeah, that was nice. Seeing Ella realize that she’s not alone in the world anymore was nice. I just wish Jordan wasn’t really a part of that in this book. They spent so much time being enemies that I really hated that she would help Ella in any way…even if it was to show her dumb ass roots to further her popularity.

I didn’t have any trouble reading the book so it was definitely readable, I just didn’t like a lot that happened in the book aside from seeing the guy Reed has become. The authors were correct in that this series did ruin me and in a really good way, I just wish that this book had lived up to the hype that I had going for it in my head. Oh well, you can’t win everything.

Rowena’s Rating


2.5 out of 5

What would you rate it?

Ames’ Rating


3 out of 5

Ames: I would have to rate it a 3 out of 5. I still found it engrossing even though it wasn’t what I expected. I love the Royals!

Author News

Erin Watt has more YA goodness coming our way soon. The cover reveal dropped on Happy Ever After that their new writing adventure is a contemporary YA featuring a rock star and the girl he pays to be his girlfriend. Check it out here.

when-its-real

When It’s Real by Erin Watt
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pre-Order the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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?

Rowena: I’m so going to be reading this one. It sounds like another fabulous story!


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