Book Thoughts: One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

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Summary:

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

My Thoughts:

One of the Guys is a cute, quick read for anyone in need of a happy ending.

The book revolves around Toni, a high school senior who considers herself “one of the guys” since her only friends – Loch, Ollie and Cowboy, are male.  In the beginning, the four of them are inseparable. But then a prank-gone-wrong messes things up between them and Toni is left to fend for herself while struggling at a new all-girls school.

Even though I’m nothing like Toni, she’s an easy character to relate with. What I value most about Toni’s character is her persistence in trying to communicate with her friends. No matter how many times they blow her off, she still tries to see them. I was able to recall my own personal moments in Toni’s story; because of that, Aldin does a great job at replicating realistic situations.

Another highlight of the book is the quick pace and easy flow. Even though the story spans over five or so months, the pacing is smooth and fits with the story. In addition, none of the descriptions felt unnecessary; all of the details fell into place by the end of the book.

On the other hand, while the characters are high school seniors, I found the writing to be geared towards a younger crowd. Many of the characters are immature, reminding me of freshman or sophomores. I also wish some characters were more dimensional. A few characters only talk about one topic throughout the novel and I got bored hearing about the same subject.

Still, I enjoyed the romance between Toni and Loch. It’s slow and confusing, like a lot of beginning relationships are. Yay for finding a book that actually details the awkwardness of having a crush and over-thinking things!

Overall, One of the Guys is a pleasant read. Although I did not fall in love with the book, I suggest you check it out if you’re looking for an adorable story.

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Blog Tour: Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki [Book Thoughts]

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Branded-Cover

Summary:

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

My Thoughts:

It’s always hard writing a review about a book you love because all you want to do is praise it – Branded is a seductively thrilling read that takes the seven deadly sins to a whole new level.

I’m going to begin by telling you that I started and finished this book within forty-eight hours. Lexi’s story starts in media res, like many other novels do. Unlike many other novels though, I was immediately hooked. Even though I’m familiar with the seven deadly sins, I have never read a story completely based off of them. Because of that, I found the plot to be extremely exciting and very original.

Even so, the book does have its fair share of clichés. The protagonist Lexi is not the girl everyone thinks she is. Cole is your stoic warrior. Two people, who aren’t supposed to become friends, break the rules and become more than friends. To be truthful, their relationship was obvious to me the second Cole was introduced to the story. With all this said, I didn’t mind the clichés one bit. Why? Because everything came together to make Branded a wonderful read.

Although I love a lot of things about Branded, my favorite would have to be the relationship between Lexi and Cole. Ketner and Kalicicki are able to artfully construct a true developing relationship; they added enough confusion, unspoken words and sexual tension to make any reader want to punch a wall with all the emotion running through the pages. It is not only beautifully written, but also evenly developed throughout the story.

This book is filled with terror and bloodshed. Never once, did anything Lexi experienced get tiring. Even though bullets were fired or another person was after Lexi, it was written in enough detail in such a thrilling way that similar experiences kept me reading instead of sounded redundant.

Overall, Branded is fast paced read that had my heart racing from beginning to end. It is the best self-published book I’ve read and I know I’ll be looking out for the authors’ other works! Check this book out!

Book Thoughts: The Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

(**I read this title on Netgalley through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

There are two sides to every summer.

When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it’s as if she’s entered another universe–one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She’s signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules, a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion, and maybe to sneak in some beach time. Upon arrival, she’s warned by other staff members to keep her head down and to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Feeling claustrophobic in her country-club world, the youngest and most impulsive Rule child, seventeen-year-old Isabel, embarks on a breathless summer romance that her family would never approve of. Isabel has decided that this is the summer for taking chances, and she’s bringing Rory along for the ride. The girls forge a true friendship, but when long-hidden secrets start to surface and Rory reveals that she has feelings for someone, too–Connor Rule, Isabel’s older brother–their relationship is put to the test.

It was a sign that I got to read this book right as the school year began to wind down. Let’s be honest; most people enjoy summer. And what better way is there to begin summer than with a cute summer novel to kick it off?

I have to say, the beginning did not do it for me.  I started this book all excited because for some reason I couldn’t get the title “The Rules of Summer” out of my mind. But when I started, I was disappointed to find that the first few pages didn’t hook me. Not only does the protagonist, Rory, appear to be immature, the writing is also immature. I was also disappointed by the copious clichés I was introduced to from the start: small town girl, mom with a lot of sucky boyfriends, blah blah blah; I’d heard (and read) it all before.

Upon starting the second chapter I began to feel a lot better about the book. Isabel – the rich girl – is more ‘normal’ than I first assumed. She’s not the whiney, princessy girl that I thought she would be. I actually enjoyed the first chapter that focuses on her more than the first chapter on Rory.

From there the story grew on me. A lot. I was entranced by the position Rory was in and curious to see Isabel’s attitude change. Although the story focuses more on Rory, Isabel has a nice little side story where she has a romance of her own. I enjoyed reading about both girls’ lives and how they intertwined throughout the summer.

Like any other summer romance novel I was also sucked into the blossoming relationship between Rory and Conner. Although cutesy romances aren’t my choice novel, I’m still a sucker for these stories. I was on the edge every time the two of them were in the same room with each other, just wondering what would happen and when it would happen. I rooted for them the whole time, feeling the same butterflies and sparks of emotion Rory did towards her crush. Honestly, who wouldn’t crush on Conner?

Overall, I’d say that The Rules of Summer is a solid summer read. It has enough serious plot twists in the story to entertain the other part of your heart that isn’t already captured by the romance, not to mention enough romance to make you jealous that your summer isn’t ever like this. If summer romance novels are for you, The Rules of Summer better be making it into your beach bag this season!