Thursday, May 7, 2015

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross | Review

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross | ReviewWhatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled TEEN on October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

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…

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Whatever Life Throws At You is the first new adult novel I’ve read by Julie Cross but it definitely will not be my last.  It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read with romance, betrayal, and baseball (meaning men in tight pants).  What more could a girl want?

Annie Lucas and Jason Brody may be seriously attracted to each other but they really don’t care much for each other.  Annie is the daughter of the Kansas City Royals’ pitching coach and Brody is the 19-year-old rookie pitcher for the team.  They have every reason to stay away from each other but things keep throwing them together.  Eventually their attraction may just overcome their dislike.

Annie is a determined, strong, kind, and funny girl.  She’s pretty much all her dad has and so they are very close.  They grow even closer when they move to a new state so her dad can take the job.  Brody has nobody and so he sees Annie’s dad as a father figure when he takes him under his wing.  This relationship between Brody and Annie’s dad throws them in each others paths very frequently and a friendship (maybe more) starts to grow.

I loved the development of the relationship between Annie and Brody.  They really didn’t think much of each other until they looked past the outer images they both portray to the world.  Brody is seen as a bad boy player but he still finds time to make it to Annie’s track meets.  Annie is seen as a bit of a snob but she’s the only one who really takes the time to encourage Brody.  Clearly there is more to both than meets the eye.  A wary friendship starts and eventually leads to more.

The family and friend relationships were also wonderful.  Annie, Jim, and her grandmother are all very close and very open with each other.  Annie’s mom, on the other hand, is a terrible person who I hated from the start.  I also hated Annie’s best friend, Lenny’s family.  They were so fake and I really loved that Lenny had Annie.  Same with Jim’s relationship to Brody.  He was not his kid but he still cared a lot for him.

The baseball aspect was not overpowering but still really fun.  Baseball is not a sport I care for but Julie Cross did a great job making it interesting.

Overall, Whatever Life Throws At You is a new favorite of mine.  I would certainly be interested in reading more about these characters.  Also, there is a great blending of new adult and young adult so it would be great as an introduction to the new adult genre.

What others are saying about Whatever Life Throws At You:

Geeky Mythology’s review: “A great part of the book is spent building family relationships and it’s told beautifully.”

NoseGraze’s review: “Whatever Life Throws at You was another book that I didn’t want to end.”

Book Rock Betty’s review: “Overall, a really solid contemporary romance!”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack | Review + GiveawayThe Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack
Published by Entangled TEEN on September 2, 2014
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.

Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.

What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.

picadillyblueThe Girl and the Clockwork Cat stands out as amazingly unique in the YA market.  A steampunk adventure story featuring a half-Japanese heroine and her cat with a clockwork leg?  What’s not to love?

Nikki McCormack has a lot of strengths as an author.  Her writing is gorgeous, her characters are well developed, her setting is vivid, and her story is captivating.  From the very first sentence I had a feeling I would love The Girl and the Clockwork Cat and my prediction was right on target.

From the very first page, readers will have a hard time not falling in love with Maeko.  She’s a strong heroine who really stands out among all the characters in the book.  She’s feisty and I adored her attitude.  She refused to take crap from anyone!  However, she was not afraid to admit when she was in over her head or scared.  She was willing to seek out help when she needed it which really showed her true strength.  Also, while there were boys in her life (two, to be specific) she didn’t rely on them too much.  In fact, sometimes she was the one saving their butts.  It was a refreshing change of pace.  Chaff and Ash (yes there is a bit of a love triangle) aren’t too shabby either.  Chaff appealed to me a bit more since he was always there for Maeko but Ash had his strengths.  He cared a lot for his family and he was an all-around stand up guy (if a bit rude at first.)

The murder mystery aspect didn’t take long to be introduced.  Really everything about The Girl in the Clockwork Cat came about relatively quickly.  Nikki McCormack wasted no time in setting up the story and getting readers truly invested Maeko, Chaff, and Ash’s story.  The mystery will have readers hooked on this story if they weren’t already.  This truly is a conspiracy story and no one is safe from being a suspect.

As for the clockwork cat, Macak really was a character all his own.  When Maeko first finds him, it’s easy to tell that he’s not your ordinary cat.  He’s got a clockwork leg, for one.  Other than that, he’s a cat with personality and some little quirks.  I’m a total cat person so everything about Macak appealed to me.  I also really loved how Maeko didn’t see him as a cat, she saw him as a companion.  For someone who’d been on her own for so long, Macak was just what she needed.

Overall, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat is a wonderful debut from Nikki McCormack.  I don’t know what I expected when I first started reading it but it’s not what I got (and I mean that in the best possible way.)  I’ve never been big on steampunk but Nikki McCormack may have just changed that.

What others are saying about The Girl and the Clockwork Cat:

Buried Under Books’ review: “The author’s other main strength is in her characters who are vivid and engaging, even those who can’t be considered likeable.”

Nicky Peacock – Author’s review: “The Girl and the  Clockwork Cat was a well written, and thought out book, with an interesting storyline and some lovely prose.”

Forever Obsession’s review: “The Girl and the Clockwork Cat has action, mystery, intrigue, and really lovable characters.”

nikki mccormack
About the Author
Nikki started writing her first novel at the age of 12, which she still has tucked in a briefcase in her home office, waiting for the right moment. Despite a successful short story publication with Cricket Magazine in 2007, she continued to treat her writing addiction as a hobby until a drop in the economy presented her with an abundance of free time that she used to focus on making it her career.

Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her husband and three cats suffering varying stages of neurosis. She feeds her imagination by sitting on the ocean in her kayak gazing out across the never-ending water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She finds peace through practicing iaido or shooting her longbow.

 

Where to find Nikki online:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Where You’ll Find Me by Erin Fletcher | Review

Where You’ll Find Me by Erin Fletcher | ReviewWhere You'll Find Me by Erin Fletcher
Published by Entangled TEEN on January 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 211
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

When Hanley Helton discovers a boy living in her garage, she knows she should kick him out. But Nate is too charming to be dangerous. He just needs a place to get away, which Hanley understands. Her own escape methods (vodka, black hair dye, and pretending the past didn't happen) are more traditional, but who is she to judge?

Nate doesn't tell her why he's in her garage, and she doesn't tell him what she's running from. Soon, Hanley's trading her late-night escapades for all-night conversations and stolen kisses. But when Nate's recognized as the missing teen from the news, Hanley isn't sure which is worse: that she's harboring a fugitive, or that she's in love with one.

Where You’ll Find Me is a fun, quick read that really didn’t surprise me in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it’s a rather predictable read that won’t really shock anyone.

Hanley might be one of the dumbest protagonists I’ve ever read about. She finds a random teenage guy living in her garage and one of the first things that pops into her mind is how attractive he is. I’m not even kidding. I don’t know about you guys but usually if there is some random person living in my garage, I think about calling the cops not about how pretty his eyes are. That’s not Hanleys reaction. She kicks Nate out but when he shows back up she decides to let him stay since it’s cold outside. No questions asked. This is even after he tells her that he can’t stay in a homeless shelter because they check ids. That’s kind of a red flag.

Nate is almost as bad. He’s this mysterious guy who is holing up in Hanley’s garage but he has money to buy food at the food court and clothes when Hanley wants to go on a date with him. How dumb is that? If I was homeless I would not be buying a new shirt for a date with the girl whose garage I’m living in. His reasoning for being homeless was not as bad as I expected and I actually found myself tearing up at his story. He was more fleshed out than Hanley and I appreciated that at least.

Hanley’s back-story really got on my nerves. She lost someone close to her and she completely shut down. She didn’t let anyone get close to her after that. That’s understandable to me but then she got mad at people for not trying to get close to her. She was very hot and cold. And then she meets a random homeless guy and decides to let him get close to her and know things that no one else does? It was unrealistic to me.

Overall, this review really doesn’t show any good things about Where You’ll Find Me but there were a few. It really was a fun read once I got past my issues with Hanley and Nate. If you have some free time on a rainy day, give this one a chance.

What others are saying about Where You’ll Find Me:

Conversations of a Reading Addict’s review: “This is a coming of age story that will break your heart into pieces at times.”

Closet Geeks and Slow Mo’s review: “The story was well paced and so well written, that I read this in one sitting.”

City of Books’ review: “Where You’ll Find Me is clearly a YA contemporary you don’t want to miss.”