Friday, November 6, 2015

Abbreviations #17: October Minis

October was an interesting reading month! I reread a lot, caught up on my review reads for the rest of the year and read a bunch of series. I'm hoping to focus more on the books I own in this next month! Anyway, here are the novels I read in October, but haven't yet reviewed on the blog until today.

Red Girl, Blue Boy book cover
Red Girl, Blue Boy by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Series: If Only... #5
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher || ARC
[I received this book from Bloomsbury. This in no way affects the content of my review.]

As with the previous novels I've read in this line, it's got the makings of a romantic comedy-slash-Disney Channel Original Movie: the stereotypical characters, the meet cute, the thing that keeps them apart (in this case, it's being on opposing electoral parties) and a saccharine ending. Does it sound like I'm criticizing this story? I'm not. And I don't expect much more than the details that I've outlined. But if the characters and their situation had been developed a little more, I would have given this novel a higher rating. As it is, Red Girl, Blue Boy was enjoyable while I read it, and regrettably forgettable only hours after I'd finished.

Undeniable book cover
Undeniable by Liz Bankes
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher || ARC
[I received this book from Bloomsbury. This in no way affects the content of my review.]

I wish I had nicer things to say about Undeniable. I was looking forward to reading this, because the premise seemed really cute (I mean, seriously, who wouldn't want to intern for their favorite TV show?). Unfortunately, it's not well-executed. It felt lackluster in comparison to many other fluffy YA contemporary reads. Instead of focusing on the potential goldmine of the TV internship, it actually just focuses on main character Gabi's love life - and not necessarily in an enjoyable way. Were you to ask me, I wish there had been a heavier focus on her family, as her grandmother was really cool, and her friends, who seemed like a fun bunch, even though they were portrayed as stereotypes and not real, complex personalities. Sadly, that was not the case. It also didn't help that Gabi was not a gal I was very keen on. Her voice was inconsistent to me, sounding extremely young at times and then strangely mature in others. All in all, this book was just not what I was hoping it would be, and it's a crying shame considering the potential in it.

A Night to Surrender book cover
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Source/Format: Bought || Kindle e-book

I've actually read the first novella and the second novel in this series before! Because I enjoyed both, I decided it was high time to start at the very beginning and read A Night to Surrender. This novel is the perfect start to the series, introducing readers to the lovely womenfolk that call Spindle Cove home and the charming men that become involved in their lives. I really enjoyed seeing all the eccentricities of the community, as well as watching everyone learn to work together for a common goal. I really loved headstrong, fiery Susanna Finch, who is passionate about keeping her home a safe haven for herself and her friends! Her romance with Victor Bramwell is fun to read because, in spite of being at odds, they share such great banter and a strong physical attraction. It's definitely a sweet romance!

Everything but the Truth book cover
Everything But the Truth by Mandy Hubbard
Series: If Only... #6
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher || ARC
[I received this book from Bloomsbury. This in no way affects the content of my review.]

I can never resist a novel that promises me a love story that's along the lines of a romantic comedy! Everything But the Truth fits that description perfectly, with charming characters and an adorable romance. I love that it was set in Washington, a state I haven't really encountered as a setting before. I love that our couple meets at a retirement home, a place that seems unlikely for a meet cute yet perfect for these two. I enjoyed Holly as a character, with quirks, insecurities and sweet personality. I liked Malik a lot, even though he's got the stereotype of being a reformed rich bad boy hanging over his head. I appreciated the secondary characters - residents of the retirement home, Holly's best friend and mom, Malik's grandmother - for the extra spice they added to the tale. I thought the romance was really sweet, though I couldn't shake the sense that it felt like it could have been a spin-off to the J.Lo film Maid in Manhattan, if J.Lo were a leasing manager and her child a daughter. I had a lot of fun reading this one, and I feel like plenty of other readers will too!

Cold-Hearted Rak book cover
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Untitled (as of now) #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Source/Format: Borrowed from Sharon || ARC

It is my fervent hope that Lisa Kleypas doesn't stop writing for a long time to come. Her stories are always wonderful reads, with the magical ability to make the reader feel utterly sated by the time we hit the happily ever after. Cold-Hearted Rake is her latest historical romance release, and thanks to my friends Sharon & Racquel of The Book Barbies, I actually got to read it early! Cold-Hearted Rake is an excellent addition to her body of work! Once again, Kleypas has written a romance that brings swoons and sass, with an entirely new cast of characters to fall head over heels in love with. I honestly think this is one of her best stories to date, and I cannot praise it enough! Devon is the irresistible, mysterious reformed hellraiser; Kathleen is the proper lady who also happens to be smart and sassy. The chemistry between these two was off the charts, particularly manifesting in their easy, silly banner. Their romance does seem to follow the usual path, but I couldn't help loving every single bit of it from start to finish. I definitely think this is a historical romance to get excited about, so be sure and grab your very own copy to read! (Plus, I'm pretty excited about the characters introduced in this one who will be the main focus of book two!)

The Bet book cover
The Bet by Rachel van Dyken
Series: The Bet #1
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Source/Format: Owned || Kindle e-book

I read The Bet in the wee hours of one night when I couldn't go to sleep, and it served as a good distraction from the insomnia. It's not the greatest new adult novel I've ever read. The writing is still a bit rough, and the characters could certainly have used a little more development. (Though, admittedly, I loved Grandma. She's my favorite!) But, truth is, the story has its moments. I couldn't help giggling at a lot of the events in this one, and I even got really emotional over one part! I have to give credit to van Dyken for managing to make me react to her story, as well as for her sense of humor. While I don't love this one nearly as much as my sister Mel did, it certainly served the purpose of keeping me entertained when my brain wasn't exactly functioning at full capacity.

Tempted by a Rogue book cover
Tempted by a Rogue by Lauren Smith
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: September 21, 2015
Source/Format: Author || e-galley
[I received this novella from the author. This in no way affects the contents of my review.]

Tempted by a Rogue is written in a similar style as two of my all-time favorite historical romance series, the Bridgertons and the Hathaways. It's a sweet, simple story about two people who overcome the misunderstandings between them in order to finally get their happily ever after, and for that alone, it was well worth reading. But it got even better - because Smith has a wicked sense of humor, and it reveals itself in some well-placed lines and moments. It's a really fun novella, quite cute, and I enjoyed it!

3 comments:

  1. I've been intrigued by the IF ONLY series! I think the overall premise of the companion novels sounds cute, but I can see that it the basic outline of each story is similar. I read JUST LIKE THE MOVIES last year (before it was "added" into this series) and really enjoyed it. Maybe I'll give the rest a try!

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  2. Stunning reviews Alexa. <3 You read so much :D None of these books are for me, lol, but I love reading your thoughts about them all. <3 Hope you will get to read lots this month too :)

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  3. I haven't read Cold Hearted Rake yet but it's waiting for me on my Kindle! You know I have such high hopes for it. So glad Lisa is finally writing historicals again!
    I thought Everything But the Truth was pretty cute too! I'm really enjoying this "series". And yay for Tessa Dare!
    Lovely minis, Alexa!

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