ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Harshville by Olivia Wildenstein

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Synopsis

High school senior Angie isn’t usually a secretive person, but when her idol launches a songwriting competition which her mother forbids her from entering, Angie decides to do it anyway. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… possibly her lucky break into the music industry.

When Angie meets Nevada, who has an extraordinary voice, she’s convinced that they’ll win if they work together. But Tennessee, Nevada’s older brother, is wary of Nevada’s friendship with Angie — especially when he learns about the contest.

Can Angie convince Tennessee that she’s interested in his family for the right reasons—or will her dream of becoming a songwriter crumble before her eyes?

My Review

*Thanks again to Olivia Wildenstein for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

Even though it took me three weeks to finish Harshville, I still have to say that it was a pretty quick read because whenever I actually felt like reading the book, I really flew through the chapters. The only problem was that it just wasn’t interesting enough to make me want to finish it in like a week or so. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun story and seeing a character like Nev – who has a rare medical condition – in a young adult novel was very interesting and it’s important to see more of that in literature. But most of the plot was very cliché and so was the writing. A lot of phrases the author used were some I’d just heard so many times before.

What I really liked about Harshville though were the characters and the romance. Angie and Ten were an adorable couple and I loved following their story. I just think there was a bit too much back and forth between the two and the story dragged on a little before the novel ended way too abruptly.

But overall, Harshville was a cute read which I enjoyed for the most part. It just wasn’t anything special and way too cliché for my liking but I’ve definitely read worse books which is why I decided to still give it three stars.

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ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

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*Thanks again to Berkley Publishing Group for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans… At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

Based on the synopsis, I thought this would be a cute and very quick read. But unfortunately, this book was badly written, unoriginal and pretty boring which is why it took me two weeks to finish it even though I even skimmed the last 20 percent of it.

There were just so many things that happened in “The Proposal” that were so incredibly cliché and that I’d already seen so often that they mostly just made me roll my eyes. Due to my disinterest in the story itself, I also didn’t really care about any of the characters. I mean, I loved the diversity in this book but their personalities just weren’t really that interesting.

However, the thing I had the biggest problem with was definitely the writing style. I know that I read an ARC of this, but those are still in the final stages of editing and this book simply read like a first draft which really interrupted my reading flow. Furthermore, I also had a huge problem with the formatting of this novel though I hope it might be different in the final novel. The author really should have put quotation marks to indicate a text that’s been sent to someone or should’ve formatted the text messages differently. There were tons of text messages in this book but I always ended up reading the text message and thinking that they were talking to themselves, until I realized that someone else had texted them which meant I had to go back and read the last few lines again which was extremely irritating.

So all in all, this book just wasn’t for me and so I can’t give it more than two out of five stars.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Dangerous Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

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Synopsis

Isla made one teeny little mistake. Now she and her PI company, Dirty Exes, are being targeted by one seriously angry and furiously sexy ex-quarterback. Jessie freakin’ Beckett. But there’s no way some NFL superhunk is going to take her business away. If only he didn’t make her so hot—and bothered.

Jessie wants payback for a ruined reputation. His plan? Top secret. His hard-to-hide arousal for Isla? Not so much. Especially when they let down their guards and sneak a kiss. Like any juicy scandal, it goes so viral, so fast, that only a good lie can combat the bad press. Mortal enemies in a fling? No way. Um…this is love!

Actually…could it be?

Isla’s not faking it. Jessie can’t. As the game of let’s pretend gets real, Jessie forgets all about revenge. That’s the problem. His plan is already out of his control. Now it could undo everything they’ve been trying to build. Coming clean may be the only thing that can save it.

Review 

*Thanks again to Skyscape for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

I absolutely loved Dirty Exes and so I was very excited about my ARC of this book. The synopsis sounded like the book was going to be right up my alley and I was looking forward to getting to know Isla and Jessie a little better. So it’s safe to say that I had very high expectations for Dangerous Exes but thankfully, Rachel Van Dyken didn’t disappoint.

This book was such an entertaining read and an absolute page turner. I loved Isla and Jessie just as much as I hoped I would and it was also so much fun to see how Blaire and Colin’s relationship continued after the first book. But I still have to say that this book just wasn’t as good as Dirty Exes. While there was a bigger plot twist in the last quarter of the book that I didn’t really see coming, there were also a few scenes that were quite boring and dragged on a bit. Furthermore, Isla had a great-aunt – Goo-Poh – who generally was a very cute and lovely character but especially towards the end of the book, I think she was a little too much sometimes and if she was my great-aunt, she’d probably freak me out a little.

So all in all, even though I didn’t like Dangerous Exes as much as Dirty Exes, I still thought it was a great book and after seeing that I’d rated the first book 5 stars, I decided to give this one 4 stars.  While reading the book I also once again noticed how much I’m always enjoying Rachel Van Dyken’s writing and I’ll definitely try to still read some of her older books before the end of the year.

By the way, if you’re wondering if you necessarily have to read the first book before reading Dangerous Exes, I can assure you that both books can definitely be read as standalones.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

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*Thanks again to Candlewick Press for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

The premise of “Hearts Unbroken“ sounded amazing. We have Louise Wolf, our female main character, who is a Native teen trying to deal with high school and the problems that come with first love.  She’s a confident girl who doesn’t take shit from her boyfriend when he insults Native people in front of her and just dumps him via email, also because she’d much rather spend time with friends and family or on the school newspaper anyway.

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I knew immediately that I wanted to read it and hoped it would be as good as I thought it would be. But unfortunately, books sometimes just don’t live up to their synopsis.

I want to start with what I liked about “Hearts Unbroken” before I get into what bothered me about it and lead to my low rating. First of all, this book deals with such an important and interesting topic that we just don’t see a lot in literature. I loved how the main character, her family and other characters were Native Americans. As a European, I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about this group of people that unfortunately is just so underrepresented in literature and I really enjoyed learning more about their culture.  Second of all, this was also such a quick read. I pretty much flew through it and if I’d had the time to just sit down and read it in one go, I think I could’ve easily finished it in under three hours.

But that’s already everything that I had on my list of positive things about “Hearts Unbroken” and everything else about this book was pretty disappointing. My biggest problem with this novel was definitely the writing. This may sound harsh, but if this hadn’t been an ARC, I don’t think I would’ve ever read the novel because at the end of its first page, I already knew that the writing just absolutely wasn’t for me. “Hearts Unbroken” was very poorly written which I think was also the main reason why I just never really got into the story.

Furthermore, I also really disliked how short most of the chapters were. Usually, I’m someone who definitely prefers shorter chapters over long ones, but Smith just often tended to end chapters at very important points and just threw the reader into a completely different scene which really interrupted the reading flow. Also, the chapters that were longer were usually just longer when Louise did interviews for the school newspaper and while I found some of her articles quite interesting, I often felt like I was just reading someone’s summary of their journalistic work instead of a proper novel about Louise’s life.

One last thing I then really had a problem with concerns the characters in this book. Firstly, there are way too many characters in this novel. In almost every chapter new characters – that ultimately aren’t even important to the story – are introduced and at the end of the book, I still hadn’t fully understood who was who. Secondly, there was also zero character development for many of the main characters in this book which was quite sad because I feel like if Smith hadn’t added quite as many characters to the book, she would’ve easily had time to focus more on those that were important for the actual story the novel tells.

So altogether, this was a book that deals with a very important topic but that is just very poorly written. If this had just once again been about some random topic you find in so many other YA contemporaries, I would’ve without a doubt only rated this one star. But due to the premise of this novel and because I definitely learned some interesting things while reading it, I decided to give it two out of five stars.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: In Tune by J.N. Welsh

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*Thanks again to Harlequin – Carina Press for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

Due to some problems with her last client, Leona Sable hasn’t worked as a tour manager in a year. But then she wants to get back into her profession and her first client is Luke Anderson, an EDM DJ. He isn’t exactly her biggest fan and so he has put a couple of clauses into her contract that he wants her to agree to. Just like a clause that says that she isn’t allowed to have sex for the entirety of the tour. Leona is willing to agree to the terms but only if they also apply to Luke. Will the two be able to stick to what’s written in the contract?

The premise of this book sounded great and I really wanted to love it but ultimately, “In Tune” just wasn’t for me. I was excited to read a great enemies-to-lovers romance, but in my opinion, they weren’t even really enemies in the first place – they just kind of disliked each other – and then also started liking each other way too quickly. Furthermore, I thought the plot was pretty boring and I did skim parts of the book towards the end of it because I just wasn’t really that interested in it anymore.

But my biggest problem with the book was the writing style. The author just used a lot of phrases you see in so many other books and that just often made me cringe a lot. Furthermore, I also didn’t really like the choice of POV in this novel. It was a bit of a third person omniscient POV but sometimes the narrator only knew the thoughts of the female MC and sometimes those of the main MC. Those changes often happened just randomly in the middle of chapters which was very confusing. Thus I feel like I would’ve enjoyed the book more if it had just been written alternately from both characters perspectives in first person POV.

However, one thing I really loved about “In Tune” were the characters. I loved how diverse they were and that they weren’t the bunch of typical white characters with the same personalities you find in so many other contemporary romances. Furthermore, “In Tune” was also a very quick read and I didn’t feel like I had to force myself to finish it.

So overall, I decided to give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I liked the characters, it was a quick read and I enjoyed the beginning of the novel. But like I said, I just really had a problem with the plot and the writing which is why I unfortunately just couldn’t give this a higher rating.