Losing It By Cora Carmack

Losing It (Losing It, #1)Losing It by Cora Carmack
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After hearing that this was a cute book, despite the porntastic cover & blurb, I gave Losing It a read. It didn’t hurt that I got it for free! Honestly, I was expecting the same kind of crap I found in Falling too Far. I usually skim to the end or just put it on the DNF shelf if its too lame. I really hated the whole, “Virginity is such a burden, I’m going to go have sex with some random stranger so I can be like my friends” premise. That’s why I was ready to toss this one in the plunker pile before I even started it.

Surprise! It was a trick. Bliss (yep, that’s her name) does something silly rather than something stupid & dangerous. Am I the only girl who got the Stranger Danger talk along with a can of pepper spray from her parents? Anyway…her almost one night stand turns out to be her new teacher. She finds this out when she arrives late to her theater class the next day. Ooooh! Talk about a walk of shame. Garrick has 1) The same name as my brother, which was weird, and 2) A British accent, which was sexy. Anglophile. Can’t help it. There’s some predictable hot-for-teacher stuff, no surprises, but still an entertaining little story. I like awkward situations and Losing It delivered a few good ones.

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Book Review and Personal Stuff about Anxiety

After Math (Off the Subject, #1)After Math by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about After Math. Scarlett has severe social anxiety and panic attacks. She had a crappy childhood & excelled in school, specifically math, to get herself out of the trailer park and into university. She took advantage of free counselling on campus for 14 months, & has learned many techniques to calm herself down. Scarlett has a tutoring job in the math lab, which works well with her social anxiety. One on one, small environment. She has two close friends, one a roommate, but avoids going out. No crowded, unfamiliar places. Everyday situations can cause her to panic. She does equations to calm herself down, guided imagery too.

I was impressed by how accurately the author depicted this kind of disorder. I can relate so much to the main character, as I have social anxiety myself. My brother & I used to joke and call it Walmart-a-phobia. It’s gotten harder to deal with as I’ve gotten older (although middle and high school were so so difficult), and I found out it’s a real thing. Acute Agoraphobia. I feel safe when my environment is controlled and familiar. New places & people make me nervous, even when everyone is friendly. I use some of the same coping mechanisms Scarlett describes. Not equations – I’m only good with the basic math used in my every day life. I would’ve spotted BS, so the author either did her research well or has some type of personal experience.

So why 3 stars? From me, 3 stars means I liked most of it but had some significant dislikes. The writing was good, markedly better than The Substitute by the same author. I was skeptical of the way that Scarlett & Tucker recognized something in one another. It actually developed into a nice and healthy friendship, they helped each other in different ways.

The romance was super needy and unhealthy, and it moved way too fast. I hate the idea that another person can heal you. Granted, Scarlett took some serious steps with therapy, but I didn’t understand why she no longer went. She’s not fixed. There’s mention of the medications that the MC wished she could afford to take. That was a blunder, because there’s assistance available that her therapist would’ve alerted her to. She qualified for free campus counselling, and she’s clearly not able to function normally, even with the calming techniques.

Tucker was an emotional mess. Drug addicted mother. Abusive foster homes. Self destructive behavior, like binge drinking and sleeping with all the girls. He even has a temper problem that results in emotional, if not physical abuse.

Seriously, why are there so many romances about emotionally damaged people healing each other through love? My issues sometimes affect my family. I’m thankful that my husband, while not perfect, doesn’t suffer from anxiety or problems from a violent past. My kids know what I deal with and see me being proactive about dealing with my panic attacks. Having a calm, confident spouse helps enormously. We’ve been at it for almost 20 years, and I can tell you that regular marriage has enough hard spots. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the odds aren’t ever in your favor if you have 2 people with major unresolved issues try to live happily ever after.

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The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank

The Substitute (The Wedding Pact #1)The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love the trope of a fake fiancĂ©, it’s my guilty, cheesy pleasure. It didn’t work so well in this story since only one party agreed to the fake engagement. I forgive a lot of far fetched plot stuff in fluffy romances, but this was pretty forced. I wasn’t in love with either of the MCs, but they were tolerable. I was hoping for more humor as well.

It was okay, but not great. 2.5 stars, rounded up for Goodreads.

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The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat FriendThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was hoping to enjoy this more. I saw a preview for the movie and was surprised at the PG-13 rating. The subject matter, high schoolers in a friends-with-benefits deal. Except they’re not even friends. Bianca drops the F-bomb so often, it’s like a filler word.

I know Bianca was purposely written as a cynical, abrasive character. I just wasn’t able to warm up to her, she was so negative about everything. She thinks all teenager/high school stuff (like prom) is soooooo stupid. She’s above it all and looks down on all her peers. Almost all of them. Her two BFFs and the boy she crushes on are the only ones who escape harsh judgement. She uses labels like slut and whore.

2.5 stars, rounded up for Goodreads.

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Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Trade Me (Cyclone, #1)Trade Me by Courtney Milan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy guacamole, a New Adult romance that didn’t suck? I think I like Courtney Milan’s NA better than her historical romance. The characters, Tina and Blake, felt like they were made for well written YA. If you subtracted a few years and some too graphic (for me) sex scenes, this would be an excellent young adult novel. That’s high praise from me, I’ve been so disappointed by the NA genre that I won’t read it without a good rec (thanks Elana). I loved the complex relationships each character had with their parents. Cheesy cover. Quality writing. Recommended for adult readers.

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Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Gilded AshesGilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You all know I have a weakness for retellings, the darker, the better. This incarnation of Cinderella did not disappoint. Set in the same world as Cruel Beauty, fools are still striking bargains with the Gentle Lord. We get to meet 3 sisters who are all living with the consequences of bargains made by well meaning parents.

Maia is our Cinderella. Traces of her personality reminded me of Nyx, but without all the poisonous hate. She’s practical and tries to protect others. I enjoyed her unguarded conversations with Anax, when she was blunt and honest. She gave him some nice set downs!

Maia works hard at home serving Stepmother, Thea, and KorĂ©. Not only is Stepmother mean, she’s a bit crazy – which is even better! The crueler the words, the bigger Maia smiles. Locked in the cellar? Maia says it’s a delightful place, nice and quiet. Isn’t it nice of Stepmother to let her cook breakfast each morning? Her poor stepsisters aren’t even allowed to set foot in the kitchen.

Maia has to stay happy all the time, otherwise terrible things happen. Read it, find out. Recommended.

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