Sunday, September 30, 2012

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan’s summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.

At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

On the Island on Goodreads

On the Island on Amazon

Tracey Garvis-Graves' Website 

 Kala's Review:

I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads system and I was kind of excited to win it. I thought the concept sounded interesting, although the idea of a 16 year old boy and a 30 year old woman made me a little squidgy.

The book was a very fast and easy read. I blew through the entire thing in a matter of two hours, max (this is a good thing!). I found myself engrossed in it and read it cover to cover in one sitting. The characters are interesting, though I found them a little generic.

I appreciated how the author handled the age difference, though I do have a hard time believing they would wait until he was legal to begin a physical relationship when they're marooned on an island together. It seemed like a bit of a cop-out, but either way I still enjoyed the book.

This book makes a great beach/plane read and I would recommend it. :)

4 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Title: Slammed
Author: Colleen Hoover
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

Slammed on Goodreads

Slammed on Amazon

Colleen Hoover's Website

 Kala's Review:

I read this book a week ago. I re-read it the same day. I have read about seven books since I read this one, but for some reason I still can't stop thinking about it.

Slammed isn't perfect. The prose isn't all beautiful and flowy and amazing. The trope of teacher/student is probably a little cliche at this point and overdone. The name of the main character is awkward and I didn't like it at all.

But the characters... they will grab hold of your heart and just won't let go. I fell in love with Will and Lake after their date. I fell in love with Lake's mom Julia when she acted like a real mother (something so rare in YA novels these days). I absolutely fell in love with Kel and Caulder, the younger brothers of Lake and Will who steal the show throughout the book.

And the poetry... I hate poetry. In most novels if there is poetry I just skip it over and ignore it. It seems a common thing these days to make heroines of YA novels all about poetry and classic novels. I was sure I would hate a book where the characters are so emotional about poetry. Instead, I found myself sucked in by it. For the first time I actually read the words and liked them.

The last chapter of this book, including the last two poems, just moved me. That's such a cheesy way to say it, but I'm not very eloquent and I can't think of a better way. Over the past week I've re-read the last chapter of this book every time I've felt a little down because there's no way to read that last chapter and not sit there with a huge grin on your face.

Just writing about this book as me wanting to go read it again. Which I think I will do as soon as I hit save on this review. READ IT!

5 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?


Anna and the French Kiss on Goodreads

Anna and the French Kiss on Amazon

Stephanie Perkins' Website

 Kala's Review:

For quite some time I've been reading so much YA paranormal and other similar stuff, but for about a week I've been on a kick reading realistic contemporary romance - both YA and "New Adult" (aka college age). This book is one of about ten that I bought a few days ago and have been tearing through. I liked it, but didn't love it.

Anna was awesome. She was a funny, smart, flawed heroine that was really well written and made me root for her. There was a lot of growth for her throughout the book and I think the best part of it was reading about her finding herself and growing up.

St. Clair/Etienne was just kind of okay for me. I really liked his interactions with Anna, and I think my favorite part was the Thanksgiving holiday they spent together. I fell a little for both of them during that part of the novel. I didn't like how long he dragged out his relationship with Ellie, it bugged me a lot. The author also harped on his short size, which was unattractive to me (I realize that's superficial and shallow, but it's the truth).

Most of the relationship stuff with Anna and St. Clair was really cute and I spent a lot of time smiling throughout the book. The secondary characters were decent, though I didn't really find myself caring too much about what happened to them. I do like that all of the teenagers were realistic in how they acted, instead of over the top like many authors portray them.

Definitely a fun and fluffy read and I definitely plan on reading more by this author.

3 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Title: Of Poseidon
Author: Anna Banks
Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.


Of Poseidon on Goodreads

Of Poseidon on Amazon

Anna Banks' Website

 Kala's Review:

This review has spoilers!
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, considering the reviews a lot of my friends gave it. It was far from perfect and there were a few characters that I thought were over the top and ridiculous, but I enjoyed the story overall and found myself turning the pages pretty quickly.

There were a few main things I didn't like. The first was the death of Chloe. She was dead by page 19. We barely get to know her, then she dies, then she's an afterthought. After page 30, I don't think Chloe's name is mentioned more than a couple times in passing. What was amusing to me is Emma whining about people forgetting Chloe within a few weeks... but literally within 3 weeks she does not think of Chloe at all, other than a blip of a mention maybe twice more.

I don't think Chloe dying brought anything to the story and I'm not a fan of arbitrary character death for shock value, which is all this was. Chloe getting attacked and bitten by the shark could have provided exactly the same outcome. Instead, she dies and because Emma has no other friends she's now free to spend every waking minute with Galen.

The other main thing I disliked was Emma's mom. She may win the award for worst/weirdest mom ever. Her idiotic quotes and actions are numerous, but here is the one that stuck out the most to me:

(Emma's mom is having a talk with Galen the first time she meets him)

She grabs a fistful of his T-shirt. "Are you sleeping with her?"
He shakes his head. "No, ma'am."

She raises a no-nonsense brow. "Why not? What's wrong with my daughter?"

I'm sorry, Galen and Emma have known each other for what, two weeks at this point? She's asking if they're having sex, then when he says no she gets mad because there is something wrong with her daughter? What the BLEEP??

Emma's mom only gets more idiotic and (DO NOT CLICK THIS SPOILER LINK IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK)(view spoiler)

The third thing I disliked was how Rayna/Toraf's "love" story was handled. Rayna fights and fights and fights against having to be mated to Toraf, who she was married to against her will and while she was not even present. She constantly fights against this, and I admire that. I was happy to see a female character with some spine! But then Toraf smooches with Emma just to make Rayna jealous, and it works, and Rayna is suddenly happily married and looking for an island to go bang Toraf on. (sigh)

The fourth thing was Rachel. This character was so over the top and ridiculous, she rivals Emma's mom for most idiotic character. Apparently she was involved in the mob and they tied cinderblocks to her feet and drowned her, but she was saved by the Syrena. Now she's like Galen's assistant or something? I'm not going to dig up her stupid quotes, because I forgot to write down page numbers, but they are numerous as well.

The last thing I had issue with was the constant violence. Rayna is constantly beating the tar out of Toraf (though she may have had good reason, considering he tries to force her to kiss him and stuff). Emma gets mad at Rayna and starts trying to beat the tar out of her (and even throws her through a hurricane glass window). The characters are all pretty physically violent with each other and it seems a little too much.

I did think that the story flowed well and I'm curious enough to want to read the next book and see what happens (grr, I hate cliffhangers!!).

3 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Avoiding Commitment by K.A. Linde

Title: Avoiding Commitment
Author: K.A. Linde
Jack and Lexi never had a typical relationship. After 2 years without speaking, she receives a phone call that changes everything. He unexpectedly asks her to convince the new girl, Bekah, that he's ready to commit. Jack is calling now after everything they had been through because there is another woman. She can't believe it. Follow Lexi in this heart wrenching drama as she relives her past relationship, or lack thereof, with Jack, and not just in her own mind, but to his fiance-to-be. Throw in Bekah's hot brother who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, a past with more secrets to unravel than you can even imagine, and you get a recipe for disaster. Find out what happens to Lexi as she travels to Atlanta to get the closure she so desperately desires from Jack, and how the bumps of life seem to keep getting in the way.


Avoiding Commitment on Goodreads

Avoiding Commitment on Amazon

K.A. Linde's Website (Facebook)

 Kala's Review:


This review has spoilers!

I finished this book last night and I've been thinking about it for hours. It's nothing like I expected. I expected it to be a typical romance type novel with a happy ending for Jack/Lexi. Instead it was the roller coaster ride of lies and deception between both of them that left me feeling almost shattered at the end.

Lexi is an interesting character. A lot of reviewers expressed hate for her, but I didn't hate her. Yes, she does some terrible things, but she at least tries to fight it. She has this addiction to Jack and she struggles to get passed it for the entire book, but Jack just won't let her. I was really hoping for his redemption at the end. I like happily ever afters. I was really hoping that Jack would finally figure it out, but he never does. I've re-read the last conversation between Jack and Lexi and I still can't figure out what the hell is going on in his head.

Ramsey seems to be popular with everyone, but I think he's just as toxic for Lexi due to being the brother of Jack's girlfriend (future wife?). I don't see any scenario where her dating Ramsey works out. Her love and addiction for Jack won't just go away, but she will always be forced to be around him. Jack's feelings for her are the same - seeing her around Ramsey will keep the whole thing going indefinitely. Lexi needs to kick that whole Atlanta crew to the curb and move on with her own life in NYC. Plenty of other fish in the sea, leave those rotten ones in Georgia please!

I know she kinda does that at the end, but it still felt unsatisfactory, I think because she lets Ramsey kiss her at the airport. After everything that happened in the office, I wanted her to give Jack a big FUCK YOU and then give Ramsey a big FUCK YOU too. She didn't pressure Ramsey much at all about what Bekah said, and that made me mad. She just let Ramsey steamroll her into agreeing to possibly start a relationship with him sometime in the future even though that would be a terrible thing for her given who his sister is.

I definitely plan on reading the next book in the series, whenever it comes out. It appears to be another roller coaster with Ramsey and Jack, but I'm curious to see how things turn out. If you want me to be completely honest, I'm still hoping for a Jack redemption.

I'm still sitting here wondering why I feel so broken at the end of this book. I think it's because right now, Bekah's won. She completely shattered Lexi and got Jack to propose. While we're unsure of Ramsey's true motivations, I don't really find him relevant right now.

It makes me sad that Bekah won. It leaves me feeling really dissatisfied and I hate that. I can't give this book a bad rating for it though, because anything that makes me think and feel this much is obviously well written and deserves a decent rating. I just really hope by the end of the third book these characters all either redeem themselves or get what they deserve.

4 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle

Title: The Mighty Storm
Author: Samantha Towle
It's been twelve years since Tru Bennett last saw Jake Wethers, her former best friend and boy she once loved.

Jake Wethers, sexy, tattooed and deliciously bad lead singer, and brains behind The Mighty Storm, one of biggest bands in the world, left Tru with a broken heart when he moved from England to America with his family when they were both fourteen.

Sent to interview Jake for her music column by the magazine she works for, they are both unprepared for the sparks that fly the instant they reconnect. Only, there’s a complication to their instant feelings for one another – Will, Tru’s boyfriend of two years.

Then Jake makes Tru a job offer she can't refuse - travelling the world with him and his band. But taking the job means leaving Will behind, and being on the road with the band means spending an inordinate amount of time with Jake.

Is Tru strong enough to resist the delectable bad boy who once held her heart so completely, or will she willingly risk it all for one night with the worlds most notorious womanizer?


The Mighty Storm on Goodreads

The Mighty Storm on Amazon

Samantha Towle's Website

 Kala's Review:

I found this book through one of my Goodreads friends who compared it to Thoughtless, which is another rock star love story that I really enjoyed. The comparison was pretty spot on, considering this book deals with cheating and a rock star, but The Mighty Storm was definitely its own story. I never felt like I was reading Thoughtless again with different characters.

Trudy (aka Tru) is the main female character here and she's been dating her boyfriend Will for two years. She is a music journalist and gets the chance to interview Jake Wethers, one of the most famous rock stars in the world. The catch is, Trudy and Jake were best friends growing up but split apart at age 14 when Jake moved to the USA and Trudy stayed in England.

When Trudy and Jake meet up again for the first time, there is instant chemistry. They don't act on it immediately, but when Jake manages to get Trudy to come on tour with the band to write his biography things eventually heat up. Trudy feels terrible about cheating on Will, but she can't bear to break it off with him over the phone so there is quite a bit of drama as Trudy and Jake argue about her relationship with Will.

That whole part of the book I really enjoyed. I didn't feel much of a connection with Will, and while Trudy felt guilty, I didn't feel like she was really in love with Will at all. She seemed to sort of like him, but she called him a snob and had quite a few issues with him.

Jake was terribly flawed, but very likable. I'm happy that the author tackled a lot of the issues celebrities have instead of making Jake in to one of those "perfect" rock stars who don't drink, don't do drugs, don't sleep with groupies, don't have to deal with paparazzi, etc.


That said, my one major issue with the book was how Jake's drug addiction was handled. Another reviewer talked about how it felt rushed, and I have to agree. I'm not a fan of authors writing sequels just to write them, but she definitely could have split off the drug thing and wrote an entire second novel really focused on Jake's addiction issues and Trudy dealing with them. It seemed the author really wanted to focus on the cheating aspect instead, and turned the drug use into a fairly minor issue compared to the cheating.

My minor issue with the book was the constant typos and grammatical errors. The major one I would see all the time is erroneous use of apostrophes. It was all over the place! Please please, get a better editor and go over this book again with a fine tooth comb! I don't usually mind a few errors in a self-pubbed book, but there were a TON here. It didn't majorly detract from the story, but it was distracting.

Overall though, this was a great story. I read the entire thing in one sitting, because I wasn't able to put it down! I found the characters enjoyable, the plot well paced, and the story itself compelling. I will check out more books by this author for sure. :)

3 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

 Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.


My Life Next Door on Goodreads

My Life Next Door on Amazon

Huntley Fitzpatrick's Website

 Kala's Review:

Finally got this from the library!  This book was a really great read - I was surprised at how much I liked it!  When I found out that this was a debut novel, I was even more surprised.  I don't know why, but I was.

My Life Next Door is absolutely fantastic.  Every single one of the characters is believable and real and likable in some way.  Samantha (the main character) lives with her politician mother who is snobby and really hates their next door neighbors - the Garretts - who are a loud and loving family with eight children.

Samantha has always watched the Garretts from her window and envied their lifestyle.  She eventually meets Jase Garrett and the two fall in love.  Their whole relationship was just so... REAL.  I can't think of a better way to describe it.  I get so tired of reading about insta-love between teenagers, or the whole "you're a drug to me" unhealthy relationships that are so common in YA these days.  It was just so refreshing to read something that I could actually see happening in real life.

Although the romance between Samantha and Jase is a major part of the book, the big themes seem to be the growth of Samantha as a person, and the evolution of her relationship with her mother.  Both of these are fascinating to watch unravel and grow as the story progresses. 

My biggest complaint about this book has nothing to do with the writing, the author, the story, or the characters.  It's with the publisher.  I would have purchased this book if the e-book had been reasonably priced (which is about $7.99 max for me when it comes to an author I don't know).  $10.99 for an e-book is ridiculous!  Thankfully, I was able to check it out from the library and I'm so glad I did!  Highly recommend this book!

5 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Cursed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Dying sucks-- and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out.

However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't? But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not have been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.


Cursed on Goodreads

Cursed on Amazon

Jennifer Armentrout's Website

 Kala's Review:

Jennifer Armentrout hasn't disappointed me yet, and Cursed is no exception.  Just like all of her other novels, Cursed is fast paced with likable, funny characters, witty dialogue, and a great plot.  I like that she can take something that's been done before (the whole "killer touch" thing seems to be making the rounds among YA Paranormal novels) and make it seem fresh and new.

Ember is the girl with the killer touch.  The twist is that she wasn't born that way.  Her sister, Olivia, can bring people back to life and Ember got her "gift" when she was killed in a car accident and Olivia saved her.  Unfortunately, her father died in the wreck and wasn't brought back.  After the accident, Ember's mother became a shell of a person and at age 15, Ember had to raise Olivia by herself.

Fast forward a couple of years and Ember is still struggling.  A chain of events lands her in a group home for the gifted which sounds like it should be an X-Men ripoff, but it's not for some reason.  At the end of Shatter Me I immediately went "OMG X-MEN!" but I didn't do that here.

This is where she becomes involved with Hayden, another 'gifted' individual, and tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to her and how her gift works - and hopefully learn to control it somewhat.

My only major fault with the story was what happened to Adam, Ember's best friend from her 'before' life.  I was very disappointed that once the thing happened to him, he basically disappeared from the story and Ember rarely thought of him again.  This boy was a MAJOR part of her life since she was in kindergarten... while I wasn't super attached to him, I was sad at what happened to him and annoyed that Ember seemed to forget all about him.

My other minor gripe is how quickly Ember forgave people for some pretty major transgressions.  She had a quick temper and nearly touched some people on purpose because they pissed her off, but when other characters lie about or withhold some pretty major info and she finds out, she forgives almost instantly.  It just seemed odd to me.

Those minor gripes aside, this book was still awesome.  I think JLA's Lux series is FAR FAR FAR better, but Cursed is still a fun read.  I believe it's a standalone novel and it has a resolution (yay, no cliff hangers!), but there's definitely some things left open to where a sequel doesn't seem improbable.  I wouldn't mind finding out more about The Facility and what their motivations are, but if I never do I won't lose sleep about it. :)

Overall great read!  Highly recommend, especially to people who are already fans of JLA.

4 of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier

Title: Team Human
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier
Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.


Team Human on Goodreads

Team Human on Amazon

Justine Larbalestier's Website

Sarah Rees Brennan's Website 
 Kala's Review:

There are some spoilers near the end of this review.

I wanted to like this book SO much more than I did. At first, I LOVED it. I thought (based on the title) that it was going to be a kind of Twilight parody, and in a way it is, until the end.

Mel is a human girl. She has a best friend, Cathy, who is also human. In the world they live in, vampires have been outed though they generally segregate from humans. Mel and Cathy live in a town that was originally founded by vampires hundreds of years ago as a safe haven against vamp persecution or something.

Francis is a vampire. He, for some reason, starts going to school with Mel and Cathy. Cathy is Bella Swan - "old soul" who loves reading Jane Austen and sitting around in meadows full of wildflowers reading poetry. Cathy and Francis immediately fall in looooove.

Mel hates vampires and has a huge problem with this - so the majority of the book is Mel trying to get Cathy out of this relationship. At some point, Cathy decides to become a vampire as well, and Mel struggled to try and change Cathy's mind.

I loved Kit. Kit is a human who was raised by vampires and lives in the same "Shade" (er, Coven, nest, whatever) as Francis. Mel meets him while she's trying to investigate Francis and some other stuff and the two connect. I liked the dynamic between them and all of their interactions were awesome.

Where this book fell apart for me was the whole Cathy becoming a vampire thing. The authors try to make it seem like she's doing the right thing and Cathy's mom even agrees to it. Cathy has known Francis for a matter of WEEKS when she decides to become a vamp for him. And in this world, becoming a vampire has a 20% chance of either DYING or becoming a ZOMBIE. Of course, Cathy becomes a vamp successfully and she lives happily ever after with Francis.... but I think that was an awful thing to have happen. Especially in a book called TEAM HUMAN. A HUGE portion of the book is Mel trying to save her friend's life, and she fails... for insta-Bella/Edward-love that is completely unrealistic and stupid.

Cathy is SEVENTEEN! I had a boyfriend at 17. I thought we were in loooove and would be together forever and ever. We aren't anymore. I know some high school couples make it, but the VAST majority do not! I can't believe Cathy's mom would go long with this as well. I'm sorry, it's just not cool that this book makes it seem okay that a 17 year old girl gave up her life for a boy she had only been dating a few weeks.



Some reviewers did not like the LGBT characters in the book and I kind of get why. I didn't mind that Mel's older sister was a lesbian. That didn't bug me at all. What bugged me was Ty suddenly becoming bi-sexual at the end. There was absolutely NO lead-up to this and it seemed thrown in just to add another LGBT character to the mix. I wouldn't care if he was bi... if there was some indication of this earlier. He's portrayed as a straight male for the entire book, only to be "Hey, I like dudes too!" at the end, which is strange to me. There's no rhyme or reason to it, it just is tossed in and forgotten about. 

3 of 5 stars

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stalk Me by Jillian Dodd

Title: Stalk Me
Author: Jillian Dodd
Gossip girl meets Hollywood in this new series by That Boy author, Jillian Dodd.

Keatyn has everything she ever dreamed of. Her life is following the script she wrote for the perfect high school experience. She’s popular, goes to the best parties, dates the hottest guy, and sits at the most coveted lunch table.

She’s just not sure she wants it anymore.

Because really, things aren’t all that perfect.
Her best friend is threatening to tell everyone her perfect relationship is a scam.
Her perfect boyfriend gets drunk at every party they go to.
It’s exhausting always trying to look and act perfect.
And deep down, she isn’t sure if she has any true friends.

To add to the drama, her movie star mom’s long-time fan has turned stalker.
An older man is flirting with her and telling her they should make a movie together.
And she’s crushing on an adorable surfer. Dating a guy like him would mean committing social suicide.

So she writes a new script. One where all the pieces of her life will come together in perfect harmony.
But little does she know, there’s someone who will do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Stalk Me on Goodreads

Stalk Me on Amazon

Jillian Dodd's Website
 Kala's Review: 

I liked Jillian Dodd's book "That Boy" quite a bit. While I wasn't super pleased with the ending, I thought overall the writing was decent and the characters were likable.

I read the blurb for this book and thought that it sounded awesome. The book was supposed to be about popular girl Keatyn who has been living a sham life because she thought it was what she wanted (perfect friends, perfect boyfriend, etc), but it's all imploding around her and she starts to realize that the perfect life she thought she wanted might not be the best thing after all.

Yeah, that blurb is almost a complete fabrication. Well, I mean, it's kind of true for the first 15-20% of the book, but then the story changes drastically and none of that matters anymore.

Considering that I enjoyed That Boy, I figured I would like this one as well.

And I did!

For about 70-75% of the book.

Then the book died for me. It completely tanked. I struggled so hard to read the last quarter of this book because I was so pissed off at what happened and where Dodd was taking this story. I've since learned that she plans to make this a 6-book series and that disappoints me even more. For reasons I'll get in to later in this review, I'm possibly going to check out the sequels... but definitely not at $9.99 each for the ebooks. I was VERY happy I only paid $2.99 for this one.

There are some spoilers after this point, so BEWARE!

Stalk me starts off with Keatyn and her boyfriend Sander partying it up with her best friends Vanessa and RiAnne. And Cush, but I'll get in to him later. Sander keeps getting drunk at the parties all the time and won't have sex with her even though they've been dating a year. Vanessa is a really terrible friend and basically blackmails Keatyn into doing whatever she wants. RiAnne is basically Vanessa's lap dog.

Keatyn also apparently loves to surf and wakes up early to meet with her surfer friends, Damian and Brooklyn. She has a crush on Brooklyn and she doesn't know if it's requited. Even though Vanessa tells her not to, she breaks up with Sander. The breakup was actually well done and I really liked Sander. Unfortunately Sander disappears from the book after the breakup, despite Keatyn telling us he's her BFF and they have probably the most amicable breakup in history.

So Keatyn is single and starts hitting on Brooklyn. They make out one night and Keatyn thinks she's in love. Brooklyn doesn't call her for a few days and she gets all upset thinking she was just a hookup. After a few days he calls her and invites her to go away for the weekend with him and some friends to surf. She's all excited until he texts her and tells her he left early without her. She's emo about this and goes to a party with Cush.

Cush might be the absolute best character in this entire book. Cush is the cute, arrogant, adorable player who never dates, just has hookups, and has sexy dimples. He also is very good friends with Keatyn. They've been great friends for awhile - he goes dancing with her when her other friends wouldn't, she goes to awkward family functions with him as moral support, etc.

So, Keatyn is all upset that Brooklyn went off without her and she thinks he's a big player now. They get into a text fight where he tells her to grow up. That night she and Cush go to the party and end up kissing. She likes it a lot and Cush admits to her that he's been in love with her for awhile which is why he doesn't date girls. So Keatyn gives up her virginity and they start dating.

Every scene with Cush makes me feel like this:

Cush is freaking awesome. They have an amazing time together until Keatyn is about to go on vacation and her BFF Vanessa sends her a cryptic text. Keatyn knows Vanessa is setting something up, so she stops by a party and finds another girl (Mandy) giving head to Cush. She's pissed off until she realizes Cush has been drugged. So Keatyn's best friend Vanessa sets this all up because she's a crazy stalker bitch. Keatyn takes Cush to a doctor and his parents find out and freak. For some really strange reason that I don't understand, except that the author needed to create a rift between them despite it not making any sense at all, Cush blames Keatyn for what happened and they break up. Don't ask, I don't understand why either.

So Keatyn leaves and ends up somehow starting up with Brooklyn again. They spend the summer having sex all over Europe and surfing. But Keatyn loves to dress up and go to clubs and dance, but Brooklyn hates it. He only likes her when she's playing beach bum without makeup. They argue about it and break up at her 17th birthday party.

At the same party, Cush and Keatyn make up and she tells him she loves him. Keatyn has realized that Cush loves all of her, not just pieces, and she wants to be with him. And from what I've seen so far, SHE IS RIGHT. They dance and make out and then Keatyn decides to go hang out with Brooklyn some more (WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU GIRL????).

This is where the book completely goes fucking nuts and starts sucking huge donkey balls.

While all this stuff is going on, Keatyn's mom (who is a famous actress) has been getting scary stalker letters. At Keatyn's 17th bday party, while she's hanging with Brooklyn, the stalker shows up and tries to abduct Keatyn. She gets away, but suddenly everything has to change.

Keatyn's mom decides Keatyn has to be sent to boarding school to be safe. She has to cut off all contact with all friends (except Brooklyn for some weird reason) and can't tell any of them that she's ok. Keatyn goes along with this after putting up very minimal resistance. She is vaguely upset about not seeing Cush anymore, but he's barely mentioned for the rest of the book. She professed her love for the guy and now she has to cut off all contact. He has no idea where she is. He has no idea why she refuses to talk to him. It's completely fucked up.

But Keatyn does't seem that upset. She gets emancipated from her parents and they open bank accounts for her because that way the stalker can't track her! She also changes her name to Keatyn Monroe, because that will hide her true identity! Her mom is a famous actress who is in a relationship with a famous actor. No matter what, Keatyn would occasionally be photographed by paparazzi. Her face is going to be known, especially by celebrity hounds who love to read entertainment magazines and blogs. She is also supposedly a dead ringer for her mother. But ... she will go to a boarding school full of rich people where no one will recognize her because it's important to the plot even though it MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE.

Oh, let's not forget that after professing her love to Cush, she fucks Brooklyn one last time before leaving for boarding school. Just because. It makes no sense why she can hang out with Brooklyn but not Cush, especially because the stalker knows Brooklyn, but whatever!


Keatyn goes to boarding school, meets and starts making out with three different guys (Dallas, Riley, Aiden).

On her first night at boarding school she and Dallas get high and make out.

Second night, she purposely lets Riley into her room while she's wearing lingerie and a skimpy robe.

That same night, she holds hands with Aiden and this happens:

It takes everything I have to let go of his hand when I shake it.
My hand belongs in his.
Don't laugh. I'm serious.
It belongs in his forever

She has been at school all of TWO DAYS and like a week prior had confessed her love to Cush. Now she has completely forgotten about him and literally has so much chemistry with Aiden that she thinks her hand belongs in his FOREVER.


She also ends up on a ferris wheel with Aiden. And of course, when it's at the top, they kiss. It looks like this:

A slow, perfect, time-stood-still, fireworks-in-my-eyes kind of kiss.
And it was just a little kiss. No open mouths, no tongues; just a kiss.
A little teeny kiss.
Holy Shit.
I'm in love with him.

Yep, she was in love with Cush last week (and CUSH IS FUCKING AWESOME) and now she's in love with Aiden. Let's not forget that a week and a half ago she was in love with Brooklyn.


The last lines of the book are:

All I have to say is: boarding school is no day at the beach.
It's way more exciting.

And to that, I say this:

You create this fucking awesome character in Cush. His dialogue is awesome. His back story is awesome (what we get of it). EVERYTHING is fucking awesome about him.

You create this crazy dynamic between Keatyn and her "friends" at school, then fuck it all up by sending her to boarding school where we are now cut off completely from all the other characters you spend a few hundred pages getting us connected with and start us completely over in some shit boring boarding school with characters who are all cardboard cutouts of each other?

Am I supposed to give a fuck about Aiden or Dallas or Riley? I've known these characters for all of 30 seconds before Keatyn is forming these relationships with them that I don't give a fuck about because I WANT CUSH. Hell, I'll take Brooklyn, or Sander, or Vanessa. But giving me a fuck ton of new characters who all have the exact same personalities and making Keatyn get all in to them is basically a big FUCK YOU to the entire previous 80% of this book.


I originally rated this 2-stars, but after writing this I'm so pissed off at this story that I've had to drop it to 1-star.

Two things I also want to mention:

* Stalker plot is more like a minor sub-plot. However, that minor subplot fucked this entire story up by forcing the whole boarding school thing.
* This book suffers HUGELY from absent parent syndrome. Keatyn has no curfew and no rules. She regularly stays out entire nights. Her mom also encourages her to have sex and is super excited when Keatyn loses her virginity.

The ONLY reason that I would consider reading further into this series is if I read spoilers and find out Cush makes a comeback. Not that Keatyn deserves him, since she basically wants to run around fucking and kissing everyone, but he's the only character that makes this series redeemable. If book 2 is an Aiden/Keatyn love story I will pass. NOT INTERESTED.  

1 of 5 stars

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley

Title: The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window
Author: Kirsty Moseley
Amber Walker and her older brother, Jake, have an abusive father. One night her brother's best friend, Liam, sees her crying and climbs through her bedroom window to comfort her. That one action sparks a love/hate relationship that spans over the next eight years.

Liam is now a confident, flirty player who has never had a girlfriend before. Amber is still emotionally scarred from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Together they make an unlikely pair.

Their relationship has always been a rocky one, but what happens when Amber starts to view her brother's best friend a little differently? And how will her brother, who has always been a little overprotective, react when he finds out that the pair are growing closer? Find out in The Boy Who Sneaks In My Bedroom Window.


The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window on Goodreads

The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window on Amazon

Kirsty Moseley's Website
 Kala's Review:

This book is terrible. Absolutely terrible. I had a really long review written which included lots of quotes to back up my opinion, but then my power went out and I lost it (THANKS TROPICAL STORM ISAAC!). I'm re-writing most of it, but I don't feel like digging around my Kindle to get the quotes again. Sorry!

Like I said, this book is terrible. The plot is terrible. The characters are terrible. The writing is terrible. The editing is REALLY terrible. Right now, I can't think of one redeeming quality about it and I'm shocked I read the entire thing.

It had promise. I liked the blurb and I thought reading about a girl who is emotionally scarred and damaged from years of sexual abuse from her father would be interesting. Instead, I got this load of horse dung.

Amber and Jake are brother and sister. Amber has been getting molested by their dad since she was five. Jake, Amber, and their mom have been getting physically abused by the dad since forever. When Amber is 13, the dad beats Amber up and tries to rape her. Jake and his best friend, Liam, beat up the dad and tell him to go away forever. He leaves. Mom gets a job where she out of town 24/7, so Amber and Jake live home alone. Disappearing parent syndrome alert! How convenient! Police are never called about any of this.

When Amber was 8, she was in her room crying. Liam, age 10, sneaks in and consoles her. He sleeps in her bed that night, which starts a trend that goes on for the next 8 years. Fast forward to Amber at age 16 and Liam at age 18. He's still sneaking into her room and sleeping in her bed at night.

Amber is supposedly traumatized for life by the sexual abuse and has panic attacks whenever anyone touches her. Makes sense, except the author completely drops the ball here and these panic attacks only happen when it's convenient to the plot. Liam sleeps in her bed every night, rubbing his morning wood against her every morning (and sometimes before they fall asleep too), but she doesn't seem to mind that!

Amber hates Liam, though she never shows it outside of making snarky comments when he is eating her cereal in the morning. He sleeps in her bed every night to keep her nightmares away, he saves her from all the wannabe rapists (and there are a lot), he drives her wherever she needs to go, he does EVERYTHING for this girl.... but she just keeps on keeping on with the inner monologue about how he's so selfish and she hates him and he's a man-whore. Not sure how much of a man-whore he can be when he is in her bed EVERY SINGLE NIGHT but whatever...

Moving along...

Amber is also unfortunate in that she lives in a town where every single person has zero self control when it comes to their sexual impulses. Jake and Liam are apparently SO good looking that the girls at their school mob their car when the arrive, pushing and shoving each other out of the way to get to Jake and Liam. It's like they're Justin Bieber or something. So freaking ridiculous and unrealistic and stupid.

Amber is sexually assaulted or nearly sexually assaulted by every male character in the book. Apparently she's so good looking that they just can't stop trying to rape her. She's in a store, they come over and act all creepy try to kiss her and Liam has to come save her. She's at a party and a drunk guy pushes her against the counter and kisses her, and Liam has to save her. (At this point, she is not upset because of being sexually assaulted, she is SO EMO BECAUSE HE STOLE HER FIRST KISS... sigh). When a bunch of friends are at her house watching a movie, a third guy forces her into a kiss in the hallway and she kicks him in the balls. This is all before the 35% mark. Three wannabe rapists already! And that's not counting rapist dad!

The girls are not any better. Every single girl in this book acts like a complete slut, including Amber. Amber's best friend Kate comes over to watch movies and starts grabbing Jake's dick. He keeps trying to tell her no and ends up begging Amber to intervene. Of course, he has a personality switch a few chapters later and starts "grinning wickedly" and flirting with Kate. Every female in this book acts like a bitch in heat, constantly purring and flirting and winking and pawing at the male characters even though the male characters are constantly calling them sluts and rejecting them. You would think after the first few rejections these girls would move on, but no... these girls can't control themselves and MUST try to have sex with every single boy they meet.

So Amber and Liam end up making out and start secretly dating. When the hordes of girls at school constantly try to have sex with Liam, he turns them down saying he has a girlfriend. These girls then decide to start a bet to see who can "nail" Liam first. Every girl puts in $20 and they all try to get Liam to have sex with them. The pot gets to over FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. So that's over 200 slutty girls all trying to get Liam to have sex with them.

Amber puts in her $20 of course, and then starts acting like a big slut too, even though she's the mystery girlfriend. She decides to start driving Liam crazy by wearing a short skirt to school. She goes up to him in the crowded cafeteria and says she has a bruise on her thigh and asks him to look at it, then proceeds to spread her legs and show him her underwear. In front of the entire school. *twitch*

After a week of dating, Amber and Liam end up having sex. Amber then becomes insatiable and they have sex constantly. None of this causes any issues with her panic attacks, she's fine with it. Guess she forgot about all that sexual abuse from her childhood.

Amber also is in a dance crew (think Step Up / You Got Served) where she does sexually explicit dance moves with boys who touch her, but those don't cause panic attacks either. She decribes one move as having her legs around a boy's neck while she's on his shoulders, then flipping off and wrapping her legs around the boy's waist. No panic attacks here!

Amber wins the sex bet and takes the $4000. To make the other girls jealous, she puts her hand down the front of Liam's pants in front of the entire school, hiding the money next to his johnson. *twitch*

Now, this is where the plot goes in a totally different direction and starts getting REALLY stupid.

Amber gets pregnant by Liam. Good thing there are no parents around to worry about this!

Amber's rapist dad moves back to town with his new wife and son (and 17 year old step-son, Johnny). Johnny and Amber become BFFs, which is so beyond weird to me... but whatever. Amber then goes to rapist dad's house (!!!!!). Rapist dad threatens her with sexual assault again. They also find out that he's been beating his new wife and kids too!

Jake and Liam find out and talk the wife and kids into leaving rapist dad and moving in with them. o.O

Rapist dad gets upset, there is a big fight, he throws Amber against a wall causing her to have a miscarriage. Liam beats him up. Amber ends up in the hospital, where the police show up (wow, they exist in this town??) and they ARREST LIAM!

Amber decides that the only way to resolve this is to meet with rapist dad in private where she records him admitting to his crimes and blackmails him into dropping charges. They all agree that he will go away and leave them alone.

So this rapist dad is STILL free to go rape and abuse more people. He will almost definitely find another woman to abuse and possibly another young girl to molest (and possibly rape) but none of this matters because he is going to leave Amber alone now! She has PROOF that he committed heinous crimes against her and tried to RAPE HER but they're willing to let him be free to rape other people so long as he leaves her alone.

What the hell is wrong with these people??

It's all okay though, because Liam becomes a big NHL star and Amber gets her picture taken by the paparazzi all the time and graduates with a degree in dance choreography. Who cares that they let a rapist free to rape other children, they get their happily ever after!

Wink count: 48
Purr count: 37
Smirk count: 74
Flirt count: 38
Ass count: 91 (this one was the most annoying...everyone calls each other "hot ass" "sexy ass" "fine ass" nonstop throughout the entire book)

Please don't waste your time on this book!

1 of 5 stars

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young



Title: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
Four years ago, Jocelyn Butler left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Edinburgh. Burying the grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without any real attachments has worked well for her so far but when Joss moves into a fantastic apartment on Dublin Street, her carefully guarded world is shaken to its core by her new roommate's sexy older brother.

Braden Carmichael is a man who always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Jocelyn in his bed. Knowing how skittish Joss is concerning any kind of relationship, Braden proposes a sexual arrangement that should satisfy the intense attraction between them without it developing into anything 'more'. An intrigued Jocelyn agrees, completely unprepared for the Scotsman and his single-minded determination to strip the stubborn young woman bare... to the very soul.

Contains strong adult content. For readers ages 18+


On Dublin Street on Goodreads

On Dublin Street on Amazon

Samantha Young's Website
 Kala's Review:

As soon as I finished this book I said to myself THIS is what all those damn ignorant 50 Shades of Grey fangirls should be reading if they want actual GOOD romantic erotica. Seeing everyone swoon over Edward CullenChristian Grey makes me sick to my stomach. Seeing FSoG being held up at this shining standard of sexy erotica has caused me to almost lose faith in humanity.


I truly believe that if some of those FSoG fans were given truly amazing erotica to read, something like ON DUBLIN STREET, they would realize what complete and utter TRASH FSoG is.

THIS is how you do sexy alpha male who is NOT crazy abusive controlling stalker.

THIS is how you do fleshed out, tortured, fucked up characters without making them pathetic and weak and crazy beyond redemption.

Jocelyn was nearly perfect as the heroine with a completely messed up path who has tried to deal with all her shit in the best way she knows how, though it hasn't been the most healthy way. She's smart enough to realize her way hasn't been the best way, and she struggles to change it, but that doesn't happen overnight.

Braden. HOLY SHIT SEXY ALPHA MALE ALERT. The guy has a dirty mouth and is a monster in bed, but also has a softer side that we eventually get to see. His soft side doesn't make him a complete sap though. When he falls for Jocelyn there isn't a flip of the personality switch where he becomes a lapdog - he stays the same person and FUCKING A IT IS SEXY AND HOT!

This story wasn't perfect, but I'm sitting here so happy after reading is that I want to go read it again. That's after spending the last two hours or so reading it nonstop, unable to stop turning pages. I have a million other things I want to be doing right now, but I'm so worked up over this book that I HAD to come online and read other reviews about it and write my own. I am seriously considering hitting the "go to beginning" button on my Kindle and reading it again tonight. I don't mind a story with a few flaws when it makes me feel like that.

There was one, and only one, scene where I actually facepalmed and had a WTF moment. Early in the books there is a scene where Braden walks in on Jocelyn and it's a pretty embarrassing situation. During that scene, Jocelyn refers to her vagina as her "vajayjay"


Never use that word, ever! It completely ruins the entire scene when I burst out laughing and smack myself in the forehead. Most awful term for vagina EVER!

Fortunately it happened early on and I was able to get past it. :P

I also felt like the trauma some of these characters suffered was a little too much. I don't want to get in to detail here, because a lot of it is major spoilers, but damn there was enough angst and shit going on without adding in more. Primo example is the whole scene where Braden gets mad at the guy who was flirting with Jocelyn and we find out how he knows that guy. How realistic was that? Was that really necessary? I think the scene would have been just as good without that added 'bonus.'

Even so, this book is fucking awesome.

5 out of 5 stars :)

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

The Midnight Garden Giveaway!

Everyone should check out The Midnight Garden's latest review on Spark!

Wendy is also doing a giveaway for a copy of the book.

Click this link to read the review and for a chance to win!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller



Title: Something Like Normal
Author: Trish Doller
When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero. 


Something Like Normal on Goodreads

Something Like Normal on Amazon

Trish Doller's website
 Kala's Review:

I read this book so fast! As soon as I started it I was completely hooked! I love that it has a very realistic male protag with a first person point of view. So often in YA when we do get a male protag, he ends up sounding nearly as cheesy and sappy as the females. Travis is completely different and I bought into him 100%.

Travis has just returned from a stint in Afghanistan and has suffered a traumatic loss over there. He's currently got PTSD, though he doesn't want to admit it. He also has changed a lot from who he was before the military to who he is now, and he has to deal with that while interacting with his old friends who haven't changed or moved on at all.

I thought his relationship with Harper was also really well done and realistic. They were not professing their undying love and claiming to not be able to live without each other forever and ever after their first date. Their relationship progressed naturally and I liked that.

While the romance is a big part of the book, overall this book seems to be about dealing with loss. I thought Trish Doller handled this so well. I recently read another book where the main character was supposed to be scarred and emotionally disturbed because of her past and it was handled so poorly. Doller knocks it out of the park here. Travis was tortured and real and so believable. I love how she handled his PTSD and the slow healing process he went through during the novel.

I also loved the end. I was worried when he had three years left of active duty that she would cop out and find some way for him to stay local and be with Harper, but she didn't and I love it. The book has a happy ending, but a real one. When I finished this book I was happy and satisfied and immediately went searching for more books by this author. I can't ask for much more than that!

5 out of 5 stars :)

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn

Title: Measuring Up
Author: Nyrae Dawn
 Seventeen-year-old Annabel Conway is tired of the Hillcrest High School elite making her life miserable because she’s not a size two. This summer, she's hiring a personal trainer to help her lose weight.

Annabel doesn’t expect her trainer to be a gorgeous guy around her age. Boys like Tegan are jerks. They pretend to like girls like her so they can make an idiot out of them. Been there, done that. Totally not going there again. She kind of hates him on principal. Blond. Muscular. Funny. It doesn’t help that he knows her measurements!

Soon, Tegan's so much more than that. He’s the boy who teaches her to box when she has a bad day. Who jogs with her and lets her set the pace. Who kisses her until she melts. He makes her feel beautiful regardless of what the scale says. Unlike her mom, he doesn’t expect perfection, and he doesn't try to shield her from the world like her dad and best friend. Tegan likes her the way she is.

But what happens when he’s not there? He can’t always be there…

Will Annabel be able to stand on her own and learn that she already measures up? That her worth doesn’t lie in what the world thinks, the scale says, or even what Tegan tells her—but in herself?


Measuring Up on Goodreads

Measuring Up on Amazon

Nyrae Dawn's website
 Kala's Review:

I really liked this book! I wasn't sure what to expect, especially with an author willing to tackle an overweight heroine and I was pleasantly surprised.

Annabel was a great character. The author did an amazing job of fleshing her out (no pun intended) and as someone who has struggled with weight issues, I could 10000% understand exactly how Annabel was feeling. The author really was spot on with the insecurity and the bullying and the struggle to make the right choices and the even harder struggle to walk in to that gym every day... I was really impressed.

Tegan was also a well thought out character, though I'll admit I hated his name. He was smart and funny, but also flawed. He had some major issues he had to work out and I think for awhile Annabel had him up on the 'perfect pedestal' which caused some major issues in their relationship when his flaws finally came to light.

I LOVED the progression of their relationship. It seemed very natural and real and believable. They fell in love quickly, but not instantly. They got to know each other some first and I liked that a lot.

The parents in this book were also great. While Annabel gets bullied at school in an obvious way, she gets it worse at home in a much more subtle way. Her parents aren't trying to be cruel to her, but in the ways they try to help her, they end up hurting her self esteem even more. I like how Annabel eventually comes to terms with this and gains self confidence on her own without the author having her parents do a sudden personality switch and become perfect.

Overall, great story. I'm definitely going to be checking out more books by this author.

4 of 5 stars. :)

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads: