Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Review: How (Not) to Fall in Love by Lisa Brown Roberts

Published by: Entangled Teen
Release date: 3rd February 2015
Series:  n/a

I got it from: Netgalley
Goodreads summary:   

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Covington never had to worry about money or where her next shopping spree was coming from. Even her dog ate gourmet. Then one day, Darcy’s car is repossessed from the parking lot of her elite private school. As her father’s business hit the skids, Dad didn’t just skip town, he bailed on his family.

Fortunately, Darcy’s uncle owns a thrift shop where she can hide out from the world. There’s also Lucas, the wickedly hot fix-it guy she can’t stop crushing on, even if she’s not sure they’ll ever get out of the friend zone.

But it’s here among the colorful characters of her uncle’s world that Darcy begins to see something more in herself...if she has the courage to follow it.

My review:
This is one of those brilliant contemporary romances - one that deviates from the norm, just enough to make it interesting. It's a YA/NA cross-over I'd say - Darcy is only 17, but the events of the story force her to act a lot older and that gives it a bit of a NA feel. It's not full of steamy sex scenes though so it's perfectly suitable for a YA audience.

Right, classification out of the way, what about the writing? This is a debut, so there's no past books to go on, but judging by this one I'd say Lisa Brown Roberts is an author to watch out for. Her characters are brilliantly lifelike and eminently likeable. Her world is realistic and interesting, her pacing is excellent and her dialogue is just the right mix of heart-felt, snarky and irreverent.

Darcy is a wonderful character and I fell for her in a big way. Brown Roberts has created such a realistic life for her that I could definitely see myself with this girl as my best friend (if I were 20 years younger and lived in the US!). She's not the only brilliant character though - all of the people we're introduced to in this book feel real. I'm reminded a little of Sarah Dessen's writing - the mix of family, friends and first love is where Brown Roberts really excels, topping it off with a hint of mystery and a life-changing situation. I really want to see what she brings out next.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: Stung by Joss Stirling

Published by: Oxford University Press
Release date: 5th February 2015
Series: Struck #2

I got it from: Netgalley
Goodreads summary:   

Stung by Joss Stirling is a breathtaking romantic thriller from the bestselling author of Finding Sky.

Sixteen-year-old Kate has a talent for disappearing. Framed for murder, and hunted by a violent gang, she's running for her life...

Nathan is the young recruit tasked with finding Kate before her enemies track her down. He's determined to stay detached no matter what.

But when Nathan and Kate's paths collide, neither is prepared for the electricity that sparks between them.

As the net tightens, can they trust each other long enough to stay alive? Or will their next kiss be their last?

My Review:

I somehow missed Storm and Stone/Struck, the first book in Stirling's new Struck series, but after reading Stung and adoring it I really need to go find it now. I was a huge fan of Stirling's Benedicts series, and when I got the chance to read Stung on Netgalley I was so excited (and mad that I missed the start of the series!). Happily, the book lived up to my high expectations. It has all the action and adventure you expect from a Stirling book, with just the right mix of danger, friendship and romance.

Stirling isn't afraid to introduce her characters to intense hardship or even death, and that makes her books that much more exciting. She treats her readers as intelligent adults, giving no quarter where complex plotlines and high-tech toys are involved. Yet she also has that great author knack of making it so that you can stumble across a series at any point. I wish I'd read Storm and Stone first, simply because I want to know Kieran and Raven's story, but I didn't have any trouble catching up with things. A steady trickle of pertinent information ensures that you can keep up, without any annoying info-dumps. I can't wait to see which of the YDA gets the next story. Damien's has got to be a good one. Just sayin'.