Category Archives: Ya Romance

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

MLNDMy Life Next Door
(My Life Next Door, #1)
By: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Published: June 14, 2012
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:
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Goodreads

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

 

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Review: Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burnstein

25446202Mia and the Bad Boy
(Backstage Pass, #2)
By: Lisa Burnstein
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Published: May 19, 2015
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:
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Goodreads

This good girl’s about to meet her match…

Ryder Brooks is living the dream—he’s famous, loved by millions of girls, and miserable. All he really wants is to write his own music, not Seconds to Juliet’s sugary sweet pop. In order to do that, though, the “bad boy” of the band will have to play by the rules. And that includes behaving with his new—and super cute—über-good-girl tutor.

Mia Reyes is in fangirl heaven. Tutoring her favorite member of her favorite band? It’s a dream come true…until it turns into a complete nightmare. Ryder is nothing like she thought. He’s crude, arrogant, and pretty much a total jerk. And the worst part? She’s roped into pretending to be his girlfriend so that no one finds out he’s being tutored. Fake kisses, plenty of PDA, and even sharing his hotel room…

But sometimes even the baddest of bad boys needs a little redemption.

 

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Review: Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca

21825486Last Year’s Mistake
By: Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:
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Goodreads

Before:
Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decided to move away, she couldn’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn’t ready to let her go…

After:
Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to.

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Review: One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

22957535One of the Guys
By: Lisa Aldin
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: Feb 10, 2015
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating:
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Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a “lady” while the guys move on without her. Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine s Rent-A-Gent Service. But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.”

 

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Review: Cipher by Aileen Erin

21943833Cipher
(The Shadow Ravens, #1)
By: Aileen Erin
Publisher: Ink Monster
Published: Oct. 14, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Rating:
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In the not-too-distant future, the color of your helix tattoo shows exactly how your DNA was modified—green for super-smart scientists, black for pumped-up warriors, white for the immortal Seligo—but Cipher’s red helix is a death sentence. It’s a sign of unstable DNA, which is probably the reason she can manipulate electricity.

When she was eight years old, Cipher made the mistake of showing her uncle the tattoo. In return, he killed her parents and tried to kidnap her.

She’s been on the run ever since, and twelve long years later, Cipher is tired of hiding. Survival isn’t enough anymore. She wants her life back.

Hacking into the Citadel mainframe is a huge risk, but it pays off when she finds a database on red helixes. Before she can copy it, she loses control of her power, charring her last processor, and the only person in the Arizona Voids that can get her back online is her oldest friend, Knightly. She hasn’t seen him in person since she started running, and Knight 2.0 is fully upgraded with a six-pack and knee-melting smile.

For a girl like Cipher, trust doesn’t come easily, but Knight makes her yearn for a life she knows she can’t have, especially when every secret she reveals endangers them both.

 

1thoughts
Cipher’s helix tattoo is red which means that since she was little, she’s been on the run. She’s learned a lot of tricks that have kept her alive over the years. But when a hacking job calls too much attention to herself she has to put her trust in a group of guys who are not only part of the military that hunts her kind, but they also share the same mysterious raven tattoo that Cipher has.

I thought this was going to be a sci-fi young adult story but it’s really more of a romance novel that’s set in the near future. There isn’t a lot that’s actually futuristic, aside for the whole helix tattoo thing. I was also a little disappointed that the romance overshadows everything. The story is in both Cipher and Knight’s POV. These two met when they were little kids and unknowingly kept in contact via online. Knight has been Cipher’s computer part supplier. Meanwhile, Knight has actually been looking for Cipher (aka Emma) because his secret mission is to save the red helix’s and he’s had a soft spot for his childhood friend throughout the years. So when they meet each other they instantly fall in love. I mean, we are like two days in and there’s talk about marriage. I don’t know. I was really thinking there would be more sci-fi but that was not the case.

If you are looking for a kick-ass sci-fi story, this is not it. I think those who would enjoy the story the most would be anyone who’s looking for a young adult romance. Unfortunately for me, when I picked this book up, I was looking for a kick-ass sci-fi story.

 

1favequote“Well, why don’t you shit in one hand and wish in the other. Let’s see which fills up faster.”

kRISTIN

Review: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

20757528Whatever Life Throws at You
By: Julie Cross
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: Oct. 7, 2014
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:
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Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas’s life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she’s living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals’ super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

 

1thoughtsAnnie’s father has just been hired to be an extra pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals (major league baseball). She’s excited to start a new life in KC… that is, until she realizes how flippin’ cold it gets. However, she makes the best of it and joins the track team at her all girls catholic school (she’s not even religious), and becomes friends with the first baseman’s daughter, Lenny (who also attends her school). What she isn’t expecting is to fall in love with the rookie pitcher, whom her father’s career is hanging on. You see, both men are on a trial run right now with the team, if the 19 year old rookie pitcher does bad, then her father does bad, and if the rookie doesn’t make the cut, Annie’s father gets the boot as well.

Julie Cross wrote an amazing story about young love that will give you butterflies. I thought this would be another cute young adult romance but I LOVED this. These characters don’t start off with the insta-love, or even the insta-lust. Nope, Julie did this romance the right way. You have a lot of awkward interactions between the two. Brody treats her like a little sister that he has to keep his eye on and Annie treats him like an obnoxious guy who she’s forced to deal with. They just sort of co-exist around each other for a while. Then slowly Annie develops feelings for Brody and finds herself battling the feelings because he has never once shown signs in viewing her as anything other than his coach’s daughter.

Not only was the romance perfect but the dialog was spot on. I was laughing out loud just about every other chapter. Annie is one witty chick and not an obnoxious witty like some characters. Nope, Annie was genuinely think-on-your-feet funny. She’s a chick that I’d love to be friends with. For instance in the beginning of the story when Annie gets to KC and checks out the stadium where he dad will be working, she walks in on Brody in the locker room wearing a towel. She plays it off as if she’s an intern reporter from Sports Illustrated there to do an interview with him and starts asking questions. Questions about his favorite color, if he adjusts how he throws his pitch when it’s windy, and if he could be any magical creature from Harry Potter, what would he be (at first he chooses a house elf and then changes it to an owl). Ha! That’s when he questions her about working for Sports Illustrated and she plays it cool and says that it’s for the KIDS EDITION! AND HE BELIEVES HER and continues answering. I laughed so hard at that. I must have read it 4 times. Then when I finished the book, I went back and read that part again. And that right there sets the stage for the rest of the book.

“Owls in real life are actually pretty stupid. But no big deal, I’ll just relay that message on to the children of America. Jason Brody, temporary Royals pitcher, wants to be an owl when he grows up because they know geography and shit like that.”

Julie Cross could not have written a more perfect love story for these two characters. She didn’t try to tie everything up giving it a feel good happily ever after. There are some things that never get resolved and are a little sad to think about but that’s life. At no point in this story did I think that the story was melodramatic. I loved every second of Whatever Life Throws at You.

 

1favequoteI figured it was only fitting to have this part be highlighted since Derek Jeter is retiring this year.

“I bet even Derek Jeter had some friendly comradery with a batboy or something his rookie year. Someone who is far gone from his life now. That’s what I’ll be to Brody in twenty years – the forgotten batboy.”

kRISTIN

Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

13574417Alienated
By: Melissa Landers
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: Feb. 4, 2014
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Rating:
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Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

 

1thoughtsCara’s been selected to be one of the few chosen from the world to take part in the first ever L’eihr exchange program. A L’eihr (alien) will come down to earth and shadow a human, enroll in their school and learn their ways. When the time is up the roles will be reversed and the human will go to L’eihr and do the same. You can guess that the humans don’t take to kindly to the aliens coming to earth. It doesn’t take long until Cara’s receiving threats. Little does she know that the panic over the L’eihr’s being on earth may have some warrant.

This was a light sci-fi romance. The author does a great job creating a story and keeping the reader entranced from the start. I will admit that I had been in a book slump until I read Alienated. I was starting to think it was just me, but this book immediately lifted my mood. Sure the story was a teensy bit predictable. However, the author still managed to throw in some curve balls throughout the story that I didn’t see coming.

She also took the time to explain the difference between L’eihr’s and humans. For instance, L’eihr’s don’t really feel emotions. They don’t do physical contact and they don’t celebrate birthdays. There was a pretty big cultural difference for Aelyx when he arrived on earth. The author did a great job not over playing it but rather letting it just blend into the story.

I liked that Landers took the time to explain the L’eihr presence as well as why the L’eihr and humans have the same DNA and look the same. I’ll be honest, up until that point I was a little miffed that the L’eihr were pretty much human with nothing to really set them apart from humans. I’m not saying throw in a 3rd eye or anything but I wanted something. However, rest assured that the author thought about this and gave an explanation to the similarities.

I also like that she showed neither species being the enemy. Each side had their good points and bad points. You had Cara’s family who embraced Aelyx as if he were their own, while others were picketing outside their yard. Meanwhile, Aelyx’s friend/fellow exchange buddy was hell bent on causing damage to earth so that the peace treaty among the two planets would cease. So there were faults on both sides as well as those willing to make it work.

My only complaint was that there was no indication that the story was jumping forward in time. One minute Cara would be sitting in the kitchen eating cereal and the next thing you know she’s outside looking at a dragonfly. It also did this when changing POV’s between Aelyx and Cara. This really messed with me since I would have to get my bearings in the middle of reading. However, I did read an ARC copy and therefor this issue may have been resolved before being published.

This is an amazing debut novel and I cannot wait to see what happens next in the storyline. It’s a great story for YA, romance, sci-fi lovers alike.

 

1favequote“One by one, she greeted each leader, letting her fingers linger far, far too long, not understanding that she’d given them the human equivalent of an intimate embrace instead of a handshake. When she touched the young male, his lips twitched in an amused grin before he regained his mask of cool superiority.”

kRISTIN

Review: Play With Me by Piper Shelly

PlayWithMeTourBanner

16299153Play With Me
(Grover Beach Team, #1)
By: Piper Shelly
Publisher: Self-Published
Published: Dec. 9, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Rating:
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Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.

 

1thoughtsLiza’s been in love with her best friend, Tony, since they were little but things have always remained platonic between them. However, Liza is determined to make him see her in a new light when he gets home from soccer camp. However, she finds out that while she was pining away for him while he was gone, he was getting cozy with a co-ed player. Confused as to what’s going on with Tony, the new girl and her feelings, the captain of the soccer team, Ryan starts showing a softer side of himself that she never knew existed. He’s even there to pick up the pieces when it seems like her world is falling apart but can she trust him with her heart?

I don’t usually like short stories. I can never seem to connect with the characters, however, I LOVED this story. I was aggravated at Liza for pining away for Tony when he was clearly shacking up with someone else. My heart melted every time she interacted with Ryan. No seriously, Ryan is the typical “bad-boy” that’s become the norm for YA novels. He’s so freaking sweet and caring. When Liza got really drunk at his party, he carried her to his room so that she wouldn’t be disturbed by other party members “using” the spare bedrooms, since his was off limits to anyone but himself. When she decides to join the soccer team to get closer to Tony, he takes it upon himself to practice with her one-on-one. There were just so many sweet moments that my heart was literally melting the entire time. I don’t think he could’ve been any more swoon worthy if he were holding a basket full of kittens. *Thinks about that for a moment…* Nope, not even with a basket full of kittens.

Considering that this is under 100 pages I fell in love with the characters. I was extremely invested in their life. The author wrote the book in such a way that I didn’t realize it was a short story. I really wish it have been about 4x longer but that’s just because I couldn’t get enough. Piper definitely brought the characters to life as teenagers. I know you’ve heard me whine about it before but I hate when an author writes teens as they THINK they should behave, instead of the way that teens really are. Piper got this one spot on. There was angst, drinking, grounding (how many YA books have you read where the parents are absent?!) and the mention of sex.

I really couldn’t have been happier with this story. I loved it from start to finish. I loved this story so much that I’m clamoring to get my hands on the second novel, Ryan Hunter, which is a retelling of this story but in Ryan’s pov. Piper has made her way to the top of my fave list with just 80 pages. I’m pretty sure I will gobble up anything she writes.

 

1favepartThis is probably my favorite part simply because this is what goes through my mind on the few occasions I was crazy enough to go for a run with my husband… who’s a Marine. Yeah, not the smartest thing on my part since I’ve been told on numerous occasions that, “You don’t walk, you clomp.” 

“How did he do this? Run so far and still speak to me like he was lounging on the sofa. Gasping for aid, I only nodded.”

kRISTIN

author 6522373

The quick-and-dirty: I’m a cool girl with a passion for writing. The genres you’ll find me hanging out at are contemporary and paranormal YA, but I’m also snooping into some adult paranormal right now. All of them romances…of course. The nitty-gritty: I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun. I grew up in Vienna, not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. I. Hated. The. City. Everything about it. So right after graduation I moved back to Upper Austria, where I settled down with a nice husband and an awesome laptop. I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Already in kindergarten, I came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. My teacher would call me a liar. I call it the cornerstone of my writing career. People always told me you can’t make a living with being an author. So when my first novella PLAY WITH ME came out and shot straight to the stars within the first week, I was totally dumbstruck. Took me a while to realize what was happening, LOL. And the personal stuff: At the (awesome) age of seventeen, I met the love of my life. But he was a playboy, and I was so not going to be his next trophy. It took him another four years of fighting for me until I finally decided to give that “couple-thing” with him a shot. I’m now married to this man. 😉
We have an eleven-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and my many stories. Unless we’re in Disneyland. No stress to go home then…

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Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

13065327Wild Cards
(Wild Cards, #1)
By: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: Oct. 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Rating:
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After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

 

1thoughtsSo you’ve heard of books that revolve around a romance between step-siblings but what about a guy and his step-aunt? Yup, you read that right but it’s not what you think. You see, Derek’s father recently robbed the cradle when it came to choosing a his new wife. So when his father is deployed, his step-mom decides to give up their house and move back home during the deployment. However, when Derek gets kicked out of boarding school, he has to pack up and go with her to meet his step-family for the first time. That’s when he meets his step-aunt, Ashtyn.

I really enjoyed the characters in this story. Ashtyn has been playing football since freshman year and she’s really good at it. She’s also the only chick on the football team. So of course, life isn’t easy for her. She gets hazed a lot when it comes to other teams. After all, when it comes to football, a women’s place is to be on the sidelines with pom-poms in her hands. So the fact that she earns the never ending respect of her teammates and coach says a lot. However, she still has to show the colleges and scouts that she is just as good as any of the guys out there.

Derek is you typical broken bad-boy. Since his mother’s passing, he’s been spiraling out of control. He gave up everything that he was working for and turned to causing trouble at his boarding school, which in turn ends up with expulsion. One thing that I would was interesting is that he was a very strange health nut. Spinach banana smoothies for breakfast, no prepackaged foods, no high fructose corn syrup, his body is his temple and he treats it as such. For some reason, the way he portrays himself is so against his eating habits. I don’t know why I gravitated to that part of him so much but I did. He definitely had some quirks that counteracted his impulsiveness.

“My grandson is a wild card. I can’t keep up with him. One day he’s moving to Texas, the next he’s going back to California. For all I know he’ll end up here in Chicago.”

The story is predictable but I definitely enjoyed it. It was fun to read through the drama and watch the two of them come out on top. Not to mention the story was pretty hilarious. The author definitely has a sense of humor and incorporates that beautifully in the story. I found myself chuckling at a lot of parts in the book. I will definitely be keeping up with this series.

 

1favepart“Seriously, Ashtyn, I bet my left nut you wouldn’t even notice if I got your dog fixed.”

“Your left nut?” I ask. “Why not your right one? Guys never say they’ll bet their right nut, only their left. Why is that?”

“Because all guys know their right nut is the dominant one, so bettin’ the left one is a safe choice.”

kRISTIN

 

Review: Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Defy the Stars
By: Stephanie Parent
Publisher: Self-published
Published: Aug 1, 2012
Genre: YA
Rating:
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Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.
Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

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