Author: Rachel Harris

Review: Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris

Posted March 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Eyes on Me by Rachel HarrisReviewer: Rowena
Eyes on Me by Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Teen
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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Look up the word “nerd” and you’ll find Lily Bailey’s picture. She’s got one goal: first stop valedictorian, next stop Harvard. Until a stint in the hospital from too much stress lands her in the last place a klutz like her ever expected to be: salsa dance lessons.

Look up the word “popular” and you’ll find Stone Torres’s picture. His life seems perfect—star of the football team, small-town hero, lots of friends. But his family is struggling to make ends meet, so if pitching in at his mom's dance studio helps, he’ll do it.

When Lily’s dad offers Stone extra cash to volunteer as Lily’s permanent dance partner, he can’t refuse. But with each dip and turn, each moment her hand is in his, his side job starts to feel all too real. Lily shows Stone he's more than his impressive football stats, and he introduces her to a world outside of studying. But with the lines blurred, can their relationship survive the secret he's been hiding?

Rachel Harris has been a go-to for contemporary YA romances for me and every time I read one of her books, I enjoy the heck out of them. It took me no time at all to fall into this book and it was another one sitting read about two young students who fall in love with each other and the journey they take to get to that happy for now ending.

Lily is trying to get into Harvard and she’s working her butt off to make sure that she stands a chance of getting in. When she lands herself in the hospital for stressing the hell out, her Dad steps in and tells her that something needs to change. She either needs to give up some of her classes or she needs to take a day off from all things school, at least one day each week to do fun things. Anything that does not have anything to do with school. So to make her Dad happy, she signs up for a salsa class that brings her into contact with Stone Torres, the star football player from school.

Stone is the popular kid at school, the star quarterback that is living the life…only his parents are struggling with money, his girlfriend cheated on him and he’s stuck working at his mother’s dance studio for free when he could be making some actual money to help the family elsewhere. When he becomes Lily Bailey’s permanent dance partner while she’s taking classes at his Mom’s studio, things are looking up and he figures he’s got everything worked out until he starts getting to know Lily, starts liking Lily and then starts dating her. A tangled web of untruths threaten to blow up Stone’s world again and he’s not sure how to come out on top without damaging everything he’s come to hold dear.

There was a lot going on in this book but I thought everything was handled well. I liked seeing Lily and Stone become friends and then work their way toward becoming more. I wanted Stone to come clean about everything much sooner but understood why he didn’t and really, I thought Harris did a great job of showcasing a romance between the nerd and the jock that was sweet, fun and completely believable.

There was much to enjoy in this book outside of the romance between Stone and Lily too. The new friendship that blossomed between Angela, Lily, and Sidney. The potential of romance between Angela and Chase. The family dynamics are strong and overall, the story was just good and solid. There wasn’t much about the book that I didn’t enjoy. I mean, I didn’t like Cameron and Noah but they were such a small part of the story and everything else was great. I’m certainly glad that I picked this one up for review because Rachel Harris shines with these YA contemporary romances. So good!

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Review: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

Posted April 22, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Natural History of Us by Rachel HarrisReviewer: Rowena
The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #2

Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 297
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who's forever owned his heart.

Justin Carter has a secret. He's not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy...and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she'd ever forgive him.

Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she's done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she'll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.

For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate's given him a shot at redemption, he's determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton...well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.

When I read The Fine Art of Pretending a few years ago, I was very interested in seeing if Justin ever got the girl that he was hung up on. I didn’t like Justin for Aly as much as I liked Brandon but thought he was a memorable character. I wanted this book so I was stoked to finally get it.

Freshman year at Fairmont Academy introduces Justin Carter to Peyton Williams. They were drawn to each other from the very first time they set eyes on each other and Justin was very much attracted to the new girl. With each passing day, they find themselves getting closer and closer and Peyton being Justin’s new coach’s daughter doesn’t stop them from hooking up. Of course, they keep things on the down low but the feelings that crop up between the two of them are very much real.

Their relationship really takes off and when things get really complicated, Justin blames himself and the way that he was raised so he makes a decision that affects him, Peyton and their relationship. Now, it’s senior year (three years later) and they’re about to graduate and leave Fairmont Academy behind for good. Peyton is counting down the days but Justin…he’s running out of time. His feelings for Peyton have never gone away and because of that, he wants his girl back. When a class project puts them together as partners, Justin has found his way in to win back Peyton’s love. He’s got just a few weeks to make things right, to explain what really went down Freshman year and hopes that it’s enough to fix what he broke.

Oh man this was a cute YA romance. I really came to love the hell out of Justin and every time he messed things up with Peyton, I wanted to give him a quick kick to the ass. The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break but I knew that Peyton still returned his feelings for her so I was excited to keep reading, to see them get it right after all this time.

Peyton was a great character. She was strong and she was smart and even when I thought she stayed with Cade too long, I liked her. I liked that she was young and trying to figure things out. I liked that she tried to keep things between her and Justin friendly, to not get caught up in the old romance between them and then I also liked that she couldn’t help the way she felt for him. I loved when Justin told her that they were inevitable and all those years later, it was still true.

Justin was everything that I hoped he would become. I loved seeing the guy that wasn’t all that beat up when his relationship with Aly didn’t work out. I loved that there was so much more to Justin than everyone knew. There was a depth to him that warmed my heart and charmed the socks right off of me. His story really lived up to the hype that I was building around it in my head.

The romance between Peyton and Justin was cute, it was fun and I wanted to cuddle this book close. I enjoyed the ride and was completely satisfied when the book ended. If I had a gripe with this book, it would probably be how long Peyton stayed with Cade, knowing how she felt about Justin but I chalked that up to her being young. Still, this was a fun book of two characters finding love again after heartbreak and I’m glad that I read this book.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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