Mini Reviews: Recent Contemporaries

Posted July 28, 2016 by Lori in Books, Reviews / 2 Comments Tags: ,


I’m so far behind on reviews that I thought it was finally time to give in, admit it, and write some shorter reviews for some of the books I’ve recently read. So here is a quick round up of several of the most recent YA contemporary romances that I’ve read. Let me know if you’ve read any of them and what you thought!

The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer

She can score a goal, do sixty box jumps in a row, bench press a hundred and fifty pounds…but can she learn to curtsey?

Megan McKnight is a soccer star with Olympic dreams, but she’s not a girly girl. So when her Southern belle mother secretly enters her in the 2016 Dallas debutante season, she’s furious—and has no idea what she’s in for. When Megan’s attitude gets her on probation with the mother hen of the debs, she’s got a month to prove she can ballroom dance, display impeccable manners, and curtsey like a proper Texas lady or she’ll get the boot and disgrace her family. The perk of being a debutante, of course, is going to parties, and it’s at one of these lavish affairs where Megan gets swept off her feet by the debonair and down-to-earth Hank Waterhouse. If only she didn’t have to contend with a backstabbing blonde and her handsome but surly billionaire boyfriend, Megan thinks, being a deb might not be so bad after all. But that’s before she humiliates herself in front of a room full of ten-year-olds, becomes embroiled in a media-frenzy scandal, and gets punched in the face by another girl.

The season has officially begun…but the drama is just getting started.

This was definitely fun and cute and a very quick read and I enjoyed it but I’m still a bit confused about the age and tone of the book. On the one hand, the MC felt young. I kept forgetting she wasn’t in high school and got thrown every time she mentioned her own apartment or picked up an alcoholic drink without anyone caring. She definitely felt young in the beginning. And the situations were a bit silly when I considered it was new adult. Most new adult books have more serious situations and more adult banter. But on the other hand, there were too many moments geared toward older readers for this to really be considered straight forward YA. So while I enjoyed the MC very much and her sass and attitude and the growth she went through over the course of the book, I’m still a little torn about it. I certainly don’t think a book has to be one specific genre or appeal to one particular group. I love genre-spanning books. But I do like for the MC and the book to feel consistent in whichever age group they are appealing to. But like I said earlier, I did really enjoy it and I think if you like books like Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series, you’ll enjoy this one as well.

3.5 stars

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Just really not the book for me. I can see why people love it but I just got dragged down by the repetition and slow-moving plot. Plus, it almost felt at times that she was trying too hard to make the book emotional and quotable, if that makes sense. So many moments felt overly corny and forced. And, while I get that they were included because of the speech issues with the main character, THERE…WERE…JUST….SO…MANY…ELLIPSES… So. Many. I wish she could have come up with another way to show the character’s difficulty with words rather than including one every…single…time…the…character…spoke. It got annoying very quickly. But I also think this could be more of a problem with me just not clicking with this particular author. Clearly, tons of people love her and her books. And that’s great. This is just a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” I just need to learn to stop giving in to peer pressure with books like these.

2 stars

Just a Girl by Ellie Cahill

In this pitch-perfect novel from the author of When Joss Met Matt (“One of those books that make you forget everything around you.”—Sophie Jordan), a rock ’n’ roll diva must choose between her career and her heart.

After getting kicked out of her own band—by her own boyfriend—Presley Mason finds herself back in Wisconsin, helping her parents run their renowned music store. Instead of belting out powerhouse vocals to sold-out crowds in L.A., she’s stocking shelves and inspecting rental violins. But the shop isn’t all bad: When she’s vacuuming up late one night, she bumps into the guitar teacher with the smoldering amber eyes and the killer tattoo. And that’s when things take an interesting turn.

Presley soon finds that Paul Kellerman is as good in bed as he is on guitar. So why isn’t he stoked to share his band, Jukebox Bleu, with her? Turns out Paul has crippling stage fright, which he’s been self-medicating without much success. But when Jukebox Bleu’s lead singer gets called for military service, the other members beg Presley to front them. Even though she swore never to mix men with music again, the temptation to perform is almost as intense as her chemistry with Paul. Now Presley must decide what’s more important: a second chance at love . . . or rock stardom.

I really enjoyed this one! I was a little worried after not loving Cahill’s last romance but this one was much better. Because even though I didn’t always agree with how the MC behaved, at least I understood her motives behind them. The entire story overall felt much more put together and polished than Call Me, Maybe. So if you read that one and didn’t like it, don’t just write this one off! And while it still wasn’t a favorite romance of mine (or even Cahill’s. When Joss Met Matt is still WAY up on my favorites list and I definitely recommend it!) and I’m not completely sold on Paul (His coping mechanisms and the fact that he could play guitar seemed to be the only thing that made him stand out. I’m still not entirely sure what his personality is beyond his anxiety.), I did really enjoy the story and think that if you love romances with musicians, you’ll really like this one too.

3.5 stars

Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

“Just let it go.”

That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life—her dad most of all—to leave her alone.

Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.

Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth?

So good and so unexpected! This book was realistic and heartbreaking and fun and full of family and friends and emotions. And maybe even a little bit of hope. I loved watching the romance develop and the characters fall for each other but I also loved how the author was able to show the effects an affair can have on an entire family. Both main characters are dealing with the fall out of their parent’s affairs. Hadley is trying to learn how to trust again and Sam is holding on to a secret that has changed so much of his life. I really liked seeing Hadley’s growth throughout the book and thought the changes in her relationship with her parents was very realistic and often heartbreaking. I LOVED Sam’s relationship with his sister Livy, not only how he wanted to protect her but also how he started to see her as a friend and equal and not just a little kid anymore, and his best friend Ajay. I loved a lot of things about this book but mostly I loved how well written it was and how the story developed between the two main characters and how much it made me feel. And that there was drama but it wasn’t over the top like it could have been. This was not a book I was expecting to love but I’m so glad I did. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more books form Ashley Herring Blake!

5 stars

2 Responses to “Mini Reviews: Recent Contemporaries”

  1. So glad you liked Suffer Love!! I’ve been wanting to read it, but I always forget about it. AND I never hear anybody talking about it (I hate when awesome books don’t get enough hype!!). The Season definitely sounds a little mixed up on what genre it wants to be. Books with that scenario are really iffy with me. I’ve read some that were really cute and funny and some that I just didn’t like at all 🙁
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