The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth about ForeverThe Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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Loved it. I think the narrator really made the story come alive. Macy’s character development was wonderful, taking chances and making friends. In fact, her friends were one of my favorite parts of the story. Delia was just an amazing, disorganized, mess of love.

The romance was fantastic! It was sort of a un-romance. Neither party was really available, so it was a super fun friendship that lets us get to know them and their secrets. I really developed quite a crush on Wes, good book-boyfriend material. Kristy, Monica, & Bert just grew on me, bunch of loyal misfits. Good back story about several families healing from grief, each person in their own way. It wasn’t angst ridden or depressing, I just don’t enjoy those downer type books.

I’m giving it 4.5 stars, rounded up for GR. I was a teensy bit let down at the end. I just wanted a little more after all that waiting & wanting. There was A LOT of taking the lord’s name in vain, a few F-bombs, nothing sexually explicit.

Recommended. YA contemporary romance, well done. Do it audio style if you can!

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Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

Practice Makes PerfectPractice Makes Perfect by Julie James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Payton Kendall & J.D. Jamison have been frenemies for the 8 years they’ve both put in at their law firm. They have this whole ‘I love to hate you’ thing going, which is entertaining. I mean, never in a million years would I suspect that they’re secretly in love or something. As the last two remaining associates in their class, they’ve been assured they’re both going to make partner. But wouldn’t ya know it, the firm decides that only one of them can make partner & the other one will be sent packing. Thus begins a fierce competition between Payton & JD. Nothing really surprising here, but Julie James writes some pretty funny stuff! I read the first book in her FBI series and while it was hilarious, it was a bit too descriptive & the male MC is constantly thinking about sex & getting all hot & bothered. Not my thing. Practice Makes Perfect had a nice amount of sexual tension without overly descriptive scenes & overly horny characters. I decided to try this author after reading Emily May’s reviews. It gave me some good laughs. I’m a little irked about never finding out what J.D. stands for. James Dean? John Denver? John Deere?

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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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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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Magnolia by Kristi Cook

MagnoliaMagnolia by Kristi Cook
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun contemporary romance. A sassy southern girl who can outshoot the boys & their fathers. Jemma’s parents have been BFFs with the Marsden family forever. The families have planned for Ryder and Jemma to be together & live happily ever after since they were plopped into the same crib. So, of course they can’t stand each other.

The plot was predictable, but it was such a fun story that I let it slide. Cute fluffy fun, a quick summer read.

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