Publisher: Crush

Review: Love Between Enemies by Molly E. Lee

Posted March 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Love Between Enemies by Molly E. LeeReviewer: Rowena
Love Between Enemies (Grad Night, #2) by Molly E. Lee
Series: Grad Night #2
Also in this series: Love in the Friend Zone (Grad Night, #1)
Publisher: Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: January 8th 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 221
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.

Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.

Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.

Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.

Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.

So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.

When I read the first book, Love in the Friend Zone, I was curious about Gordon and Zoey. I was curious about them because Gordon was pretty pissed at graduation and I was even more curious about Zoey’s plan of revenge. I wanted to read this book to see what happened to piss Gordon off and to see how it all went down for Zoey.

The day of Graduation, Gordon wakes up to some really devastating news so when he gets to school, he’s hoping for some good news about a scholarship that he applied for. After getting the news that his father’s restaurant isn’t doing so hot, he’s banking on the full ride scholarship for school. He worked really hard for it and needs the money to help ease the financial burden on his Dad. When he gets to the school and the counselor tells him that the scholarship went to someone who doesn’t even need money for school, he is not happy. He’s already emotional because his father is losing the restaurant that was his late mother’s dream, the restaurant that was a second home to him and then the hits keep coming because Zoey told him on the first day of school that she was not going out for the scholarship but she just won it. Needless to say, he’s emotional and he gets a little revenge by embarrassing her at the graduation. Made a total dick move and afterward is completely remorseful.

He plans to apologize at his friend, Lennon’s grad night party but he’s still got a lot on his mind. He’s forming plans to try to save his father’s livelihood and he’s giving up on his dream school because spending that much money on college just isn’t an option right now. He’s got one thing left to look forward to and he’s not ready to give up on that yet.

Meanwhile, in her wealthy family’s house, Zoey is plotting revenge on Gordon’s shenanigans from graduation. She’s going to show him. She brings in a lot of her friends to make this happen and everything is going to go down exactly as she plans. When night time hits, she heads over to Lennon’s for the party to get things rolling.

The entire time that Gordon and Zoey are having fun at the party, I was enjoying their chemistry. It’s so young and so sweet and Zoey was showing a bit of remorse, getting second thoughts on her mystery plan and then I found out what her mystery plan was…and then it wasn’t fun anymore. You see, the thing that can make or break a character’s actions for me is intent.

What Gordon did to Zoey is instantly forgivable because it wasn’t well thought out, it was reactionary and all it did was embarrass Zoey. He immediately felt bad about it and then he sought her out to apologize, face to face. His intent wasn’t to ruin her life.

But Zoey’s intent? Not the same. Sure, her plan was reactionary but she wasn’t out to embarrass Gordon. She was out to ruin him…and rip his future away. Her plan was messed up and had it gone down any other way than how it did, she would have ruined not just Gordon’s future but Gordon’s fathers as well. There could have been dire consequences to her plans and she never called it off. She let her embarrassment lead her to do something pretty fucked up. Let’s not forget that she planned everything out and she meant for Gordon to lose the internship in a spectacularly fucked up way.

I was already annoyed with her for going out for a full ride scholarship while having loaded parents. Her parents were assholes, sure, but it was evident that she was loved and really, her issues about her parents’ money stemmed from what her schoolmates thought, not anything her parents did. So, for her to go out for a scholarship didn’t sit right with me. Her father wasn’t abusive and it wasn’t like she wasn’t planning on going to work for her father in the future anyway…so why not have her father pay for her college and let the scholarship go to someone who actually needed it? Her reasons didn’t match her actions and because she never called off her stupid, ridiculous plan, I didn’t like her and I didn’t care about what she did to make up for it because she shouldn’t have ever done it.

That’s the gist of why I just couldn’t like this book. Sure, it was a quick read and I didn’t lose a lot of time reading it but I was annoyed the whole time, first about the scholarship and then about Zoey’s plan. Her actions didn’t deserve a speedy forgiveness. I’m sorry, but no. It didn’t and I know that this book was written for a younger audience but ugh. Just no.

Gordon, on the other hand, proved to be a fantastic lead in this book. I loved how hard he worked, how much love he had for his father and the restaurant. I loved how he faced his problems head-on and he was mature enough to own up to his mistakes and make them right. The right way. He didn’t deserve what Zoey planned for him and he let her off the hook far too soon. He was everything that was right in this story and had it not been for him, I would have DNF’d this book real quick. So would I recommend this one? Nope. Gordon, his father and seeing everyone again was good but Zoey and the rest of everything else?? Nope. Not at all.

Grade: 2 out of 5

Grad Night Series

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley

Posted August 29, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. HighleyReviewer: Rowena
The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley
Series: Suttonville Sentinels #3
Publisher: Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: July 10th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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three-stars

Pitcher Dylan Dennings has his future all mapped out: make the minors straight out of high school, work his way up the farm system, and get called up to the majors by the time he’s twenty-three. The Plan has been his sole focus for years, and if making his dreams come true means instituting a strict “no girls” policy, so be it.

Lucy Foster, needlepoint ninja, big sister to an aspiring pitcher, and chicken advocate, likes a little mayhem. So what if she gets lost taking her brother to baseball camp…at her own high school? The pitching coach, some hotshot high school player, obviously thinks she’s a hot mess. Too bad he’s cute, because he’s so not her type.

Problem is, they keep running into each other, and every interaction sparks hotter than the last. But with Dylan’s future on the line, he has to decide whether some rules are made to be broken…

Disclaimer: This book contains a crazy night of moonlit skinny-dipping, a combustible crush, and kisses swoony enough to unwind even the most Type A athlete.

The Perfectly Imperfect Match is the third book in the Suttonville Sentinels series by Kendra C. Highley. As far as I can tell, the series follows different characters set in the same world that Highley has created for these Suttonville Sentinels.

This book follows the Suttonville High’s star pitcher, Dylan as he meets and falls in love with one of his baseball camp members sisters, Lucy. Lucy and Dylan are not supposed to see each other but sometimes, the right person comes along and they fit so perfectly in your life that you guys find a way to be together.

Dylan Dennings has plans for his future. He’s going to work hard in high school, go to the minors and then work his way up into the Majors. He’s got no time for girls or distractions. His baseball team is holding a camp at his school and he’s coaching young pitchers. He’s got a soft spot for one of his campers and is not at all happy that young Owen’s sister Lucy is always around him. For some reason, Dylan is drawn to Lucy and her quirky personality and even though Owen has requested that Dylan not date his sister, Dylan and Lucy can’t stand away from each other.

Lucy is busy. Her father is in the Army and is stationed overseas. Her mother is busy working at her sewing shop and in between school and work, Lucy is teaching classes at her Mom’s shop and fitting in her own orders. She’s a great seamstress whose work has great detail and she’s gaining a small client list of her own. She also watches after her younger brother Owen who is missing his father something fierce. He misses having a man around so when he meets Dylan, he calls dibs on him. Dylan is his friend so when Dylan and Lucy start getting close, Owen is understandably territorial. He doesn’t want to lose his new friend to his sister.

Dylan tries to respect Owen’s wishes but it’s hard when Lucy is driving him to distraction. The chemistry between them is hard to ignore and their romance was on one hand cute but on the other hand? It was frustrating. They bickered in the beginning and I wasn’t here for that. The dialogue was pure cheese when they were fighting and when they were being school-kids but things certainly picked up as soon as they stopped fighting and began kissing.

Overall, this was a fast read with characters that grew on me. In the beginning, I wanted to throttle everyone but over the course of the story, I softened in my attitude toward everyone. Kendra C. Highley has done a great job with this series and I finished this book, wanting to read the books in this series that came before this one. It’s a good one.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee

Posted August 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. LeeReviewer: Rowena
Love in the Friend Zone (Grad Night, #1) by Molly E. Lee
Series: Grad Night #1
Also in this series: Love Between Enemies (Grad Night, #2)
Publisher: Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you’re head over heels in love with him? Having to smile and nod when he enlists your help to ensnare the girl of his dreams.

Braylen didn’t even want to go to Lennon Pryor’s epic graduation-night party, but when Fynn begs her to be his “wingwoman,” she can’t deny him. Talking up her BFF—how he’s magic behind a camera, with a killer sense of humor and eyelashes that frame the most gorgeous blue eyes in the history of forever—is easy. Supporting his efforts to woo someone so completely wrong for him? Not so much.

Fynn knows that grad night is his last shot before leaving for college to find true love. And thanks to Bray, he gets his chance with the beautiful Katy Evans. But over the course of the coolest party of their high school careers, he starts to see that perhaps what he really wants has been in front of him all along. Bray’s been his best friend since kindergarten, though, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend than not at all.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two best friends whose sexual chemistry is off the charts…if only they’d succumb to it.

I don’t read very many Entangled books but this one sounded like my kind of romance so I was interested in reading it from the jump. This is another one of those best friends to true love YA romances and I thought it was such a cute story.

Braylen and Fynn are best friends. They’ve been best friends since Fynn stood up for Braylen against a mean boy back in elementary school and Braylen has been in love with Fynn since she kissed him in seventh grade during one of those spin the bottle party games. Fynn hasn’t really delved into his feelings for Braylen, wanting her more as a friend than anything else and not willing to risk their friendship over anything. So they’re getting ready to graduate and Fynn’s trying to land his own girl before time runs out and she goes away to college. Only, he needs Braylen’s help in securing some alone time with Katie….and the perfect time to make that happen is at their friend Lennon’s house party. So Fynn asks Braylen to help him out, play the part of his wingman and talk him up to Katie so that Fynn can seal the deal with her at Lennon’s party.

Braylen is of course completely against this plan because the very last thing she wants to do is help the love of her life hook up with someone that isn’t her…but what choice does she have? She’s never told Fynn has she really feels and he’s her best friend. Helping him secure the girl of his choice is kind of part of her job as his best friend. So, of course, she goes to the party and of course she does her best to help her best friend out even when her heart is breaking at the thought of him making out with someone that isn’t her.

I will admit that the beginning was a little slow but once Braylen and Fynn get to the party, things really pick up and I really started to warm up to pretty much everyone in this book. From Braylen to Fynn to Lennon to all of their friends, they were all great people who added dashes of charm to an already charming story. I thought Molly E. Lee did a great job of bringing Braylen and Fynn together and seeing her try to work up the courage to tell Fynn how she really feels and seeing Fynn get it wrong time after time again, was fun and that can be a hard thing to bring about in books. It would have been so easy for me to be frustrated with Fynn for not seeing what was right in front of his eyes or to want to shake some courage into Bray to finally be honest and up front with Fynn about how she really felt but Lee did a wonderful job of placing the reader in these character’s shoes and having them feel what the characters were feeling. It was easy for me root for Braylen and Fynn because I liked them and I understood what drove them.

This was an enjoyable book with a charming cast that really brought this story to life for me. This will definitely not be the last book that I read by Molly E. Lee and I’m looking forward to see what’s next from this author. This book was fast and it was cute and perfect for a summer read.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley

Posted July 29, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Defying Gravity by Kendra C. HighleyReviewer: Tracy
Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley
Series: Finding Perfect #2
Publisher: Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: July 25th 2016
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Zoey Miller lives for her holidays in Aspen. Her time up on the mountain with the Madison brothers, Parker and Luke, is everything. But for the first time, it’s not enough. This time, she’s determined to win one of the brothers’ hearts.

But the brother she has in mind is a renowned player, with hordes of snow-bunnies following him around Snowmass resort. And the other…well, he’s her best friend and knows she deserves better. Namely him. And he’s going to win her heart.

Parker is in love with his best friend. They are both seniors and they grew up together but now Zoey only spends holidays in Aspen where Parker is a permanent resident. He wants to tell her how he feels but he’s just not found a good time. He’s also afraid that he’ll jeopardize their friendship if she doesn’t feel the same way.

Luke is Parker’s older brother by two years and attends college in Arizona. He’s home for the winter break as well. There’s always been a bit of a competition with them but when it comes to Zoey they’ve all just been good friends – until now.

Zoey shows up from Texas thinking that she’s finally going to make a move on Luke, who she’s had a crush on for a couple of years. She even does her hair and make-up – which she never does while on vacation – to impress him. Luke’s got a following of groupies because of his skiing and Zoey’s not sure that she can measure up to them.

Parker sees how Zoey is looking at Luke and it’s pissing him off and breaking his heart. Luke is reacting to her and Parker confronts Luke. Of course Luke decides to make it a bet about who could “win” her first. Parker’s not really thinking about the bet, he just wants Zoey and he wants Luke to leave her alone.

This was a cute story. It was pretty light and airy for the most part and a quick easy read. Parker seemed like such a good guy and it amazed me that Zoey hadn’t seen him for the wonderful man he was – not just a friend – until she saw him killing it at the Terrain Park. I mean, I get it, the girl is confused because she thought she wanted Luke and then realizes that he’s a bit of an ass when it comes to women. She sees Parker in another light and it meshes everything together. Unfortunately, that also made her seem pretty shallow. Yeah, he’s my friend and I love everything about him but now that I see him at the terrain park and see how good he is then now I want him in other ways. Luckily the author worked around that issue pretty well and in the end I was satisfied with the outcome of it all.

I didn’t read the first book in this story and didn’t feel like I needed to in order to read this one. Yes, the couple from book one was mentioned and Zoey talks to her friend Paige (who I guess was one of the MC’s from book one). To me, however, it just seemed like she was talking to a friend and frankly I didn’t feel the need to know more about Paige and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. So overall a pretty cute YA story I enjoyed reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

Posted September 10, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Finding Perfect by Kendra C. HighleyReviewer: Rowena
Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: September 14th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 252
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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four-half-stars

How far will you go for perfection?For "Perfect Paige" Westfeld, today is "D" Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents' expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she's worked for goes up in flames.
Ben Franklin (yes, he's related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he'll be happy to tutor Paige-if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.
It's the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient-and utterly imperfect-attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it...
This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swoony situations, adult language, and a perfectly imperfect hero with an eye for calculus and a heart of gold.

I read one other book by Kendra C. Highley and the protagonist in that book drove me up the wall. I was very interested in the book because it features a young high school basketball player and my daughter is one so it was a world that I knew. A world that I understood and was comfortable in but the protagonist made a lot of bad choices so that got on my nerves and that affected my enjoyment of the book as a whole. I still enjoyed the book but it was hard to read. After remembering that book, I was a little wary going into this book. I was prepared to roll my eyes down the street a lot but the synopsis of this book sounded too cute for me to stay away.

I shouldn’t have been worried at all because I adored this book. Highley wrote one of the cutest YA books that I’ve read all summer. I thought both Ben and Paige were fantastic characters and their problems were real ones. They were going through some of the same things that my daughter is going through. They worried about their grades, they worried about getting into college and they worried about what ordinary teens these days are worrying about.

I really enjoyed seeing both Paige and Ben come together. I loved seeing their plans change over the course of the book and I really enjoyed that they acted and reacted like teenagers would. I loved how disappointed Paige was when Ben wanted her to hook him up with Zoey and I loved how much Ben came to like Paige. I also really liked that the parents were actively apart of these teenagers lives. They were intense and they were different but they were there and they were supportive of their kids. It’s nice to see that in contemporary YA since I’ve read more books where the parents are either never around or jerks.

I’m really looking forward to reading Zoey’s book. I loved that she was such a good friend to Paige and later on, to Ben. I can’t wait to see finally meet this Luke Hamilton. He’s got to be amazing if he’s got gorgeous Zoey salivating at the mouth.

Overall, this book was a cute contemporary YA romance that I couldn’t get enough of. The characters were real, they were fun and they were smart. I think fans of contemporary YA will enjoy this one. It’s not bogged with issues and drama and angst. It’s got the right amount of teenage drama and angst to make you thirsty for more. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Entangled Crush. You can purchase it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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