Book Review – Vinyl

Title: Vinyl (The Vinyl Trilogy #1)
Author: Sophia Elaine Hanson
Published: November 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Steampunk
Goodreads

Rating: 5 Stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

Ronja staggered back and forth across the room half a dozen times, rolling the kinks from her neck and kneading her shoulders. The exercise worked the hitches from her mind. For the first time in her life, her thoughts were bitingly clear. Everything that had happened over the course of the last few days was impossible. A shiny without a Singer. A makeshift hospital underground. A symbol invisible to an entire city that she alone could see. Her Singer, ripped from her skull just before The Quiet Song could drag her under. Ronja halted, her heart writhing in her ribs. The Conductor tried to kill me, she thought dimly. Why?

All citizens within the soaring black walls of Revinia have metal Singers grafted into their skulls at birth. The parasitic machines issue a form of auditory hypnosis called The Music, which keeps their minds malleable and emotions flat. All artistic expression—especially real music—is strictly prohibited. On the edge of the city, nineteen-year-old Ronja struggles to support her cousins and disabled mother. A chance meeting leads to her kidnapping by an underground resistance striving to preserve the human spirit. Violently severed from her Singer by the brash young agent Roark, Ronja revels in her newfound freedom until the consequences of her disappearance begin to unfold.

“Uncaged ideas can be dangerous, even deadly” (p. 56).

An emotionally investing dystopian story set in a steampunk society with characters worth fighting for. Vinyl is immersive, dunking the readers right into this futuristic world.

One theme highlighted heavily in this story is one that is common with dystopian books: class structure. However, Hanson handles this with such grace that it doesn’t feel like we hear this theme over and over in this genre. The vivid writing connects the audience with the disparity those on the outer circle feel, like Ronja and her family. Ronja’s family has been genetically modified in order to serve the Conductor and suppress their emotions better. While they are the ultimate servant and citizens of this repressed society, they are the lowest of the low. No one wants to hire them, talk to them, or associate with them in any way. Ronja has to bust her butt working every job she can get her hands on in order to provide for her alcoholic mother and two young cousins. One of these jobs is how she met Roark and was thus thrust into a secret underground society with little to no choice.

The Anthem is a resistance group that is on the brink of demanding a revolution. As Ronja is introduced to this strange world without The Music controlling your thoughts and actions, and to the slew of dynamic and diverse characters, I couldn’t help feel the excitement she felt. There was this hope that she could’ve never even let herself dream of. There was joy in feeling emotions in a far more tangible way without the demands of the Conductor’s way of living blocking and dulling them. As Ronja encountered real music for the first time, as she encountered dancing and singing and rejoicing in freedom, it made me appreciate the privileges of this life I live so much more. We have freedom over our thoughts, over our emotions, over who we want to be. How amazing is that?

Ronja learns just how powerful ideas and thoughts are. They can change and shape the world. They are the very thing that scares those in power, the very thing that drives the resistance. Individual ideas and thoughts are the tools to create the reality we live in, which is why books like this are so important! I felt a pull in my gut to fight for the characters in the midst of all their dangerous situations, and I couldn’t let go! I can’t wait to see how the characters fight in book two, Radio.

Book Blitz – Butterfly in Amber

Title: Butterfly in Amber (Spotless #4)
Author: Camilla Monk
Publication date: May 12th 2017
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Romance
Goodreads

Synopsis:

He’s waiting for you…

Under a blanket of snow, surrounded by dark woods and a frozen sea, lies an ogre’s castle. There lives a little princess, trapped in the maze of her own mind.

On a battlefield where the past meets the present stand a fairy godmother and a pirate, an old ice cream man and a knight in shining clean armor…

The clock is ticking fast, and to pierce the ogre’s secrets and defeat him, Island Chaptal will have to fight to remember…and stay alive.

Can the Lions and the Roomba cats be stopped before it’s too late?

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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I didn’t mean to, but I just dropped my glass again. It still happens—less than it used to. From time to time, my hands will shake uncontrollably, and whatever I’m holding will go crash, splatter, scatter on the floor, for Stiles to pick and clean up, as always.

“I’m sorry,” I say, without looking at him.

As he carefully mops the purple mess of broken glass and grape juice on the tiling, he smiles that sweet, empty smile he always gives me. Faded, like his baby blue eyes. “It’s all right; we’re good. That marble has seen worse.”

I mumble another apology, gazing past him and through the bay window, at the ghostly silhouettes of the snow-covered pines surrounding the castle. You can’t see the Baltic Sea, but it’s there, beyond the trees, encircling the island. My father sent me here to rest because he says it’s quiet; it’ll help me find myself again. “An island for Island,” he said, and it made him chuckle. When I’m depressed though, which is more often than I like to admit, I just think my world has shrunk to a mile-long rock.

“Island, are you still with me?”

I look up at Stiles and nod automatically, but in truth, for a second I didn’t recognize him. I mean, I did, but it’s his voice or, rather, his accent. He told me once he was born in a place called Denton, in Georgia, where time trickled slowly and people squeezed their pennies so hard the eagle screamed. He said he spent sixteen years there, hunting quail, skipping church, and waiting for something to happen—according to him, the rest of the town is probably still waiting. All he kept from his hometown is a soft drawl that will occasionally weigh on his vowels. There’s nothing wrong with that, but every time he opens his mouth, it’s like my brain is expecting something more, someone else, until the feeling is gone, and I remember that it’s just Stiles.

I don’t know; it’s just one of the many things that are wrong with me. I guess I’m still pretty messed up since my accident. I feel slow, confused most of the time. Everybody tells me it’s normal, that eight months is not much to recover from the kind of trauma I went through, that maybe it’ll take years. I hope not. I turned twenty-six in September, and I’d rather not stay a convalescent child for the rest of my life.

Once he’s done wiping the last pinkish smear, Stiles wastes no time crossing the kitchen and opening the fridge to grab the bottle of juice again. He reminds me of a big robot: The man is cut like a Terminator, and he never gives up, never gets distracted. I drop the glass where he put my meds? He’ll fetch another one. I never tried, but I’m pretty sure that if I dropped it ten times, he’d fix it all over again ten times too. Always the same gray dress pants, white shirt, and black tie every day, always the same blond crew cut I suspect never grows. I could complain he also looks forty every day, but that’d be unfair: it’s not like I’ve known him for so long.

My heart skips a beat at the distressing thought. I have. I’ve known him almost all my life, since the day my father hired him to take care of me. Bodyguard, nanny, nurse . . . friend, maybe?

How could I know? I don’t remember any of that.

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Camilla Monk is a French native who grew up in a Franco-American family. After finishing her studies, she taught English and French in Tokyo before returning to France to work in advertising. Today, she builds rickety websites for financial companies and lives in Montreal, where she keeps a close watch on the squirrels and complains on a daily basis about the egregious number of Tim Hortons.

Her writing credits include the English resumes and cover letters of a great many French friends, and some essays as well. She’s also the critically acclaimed author of a few passive-aggressive notes pasted in her building’s elevator.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Blog Tour – Lose Me.

Welcome to the last stop in the Lose Me. blog tour! If you haven’t been following along, you can start at the beginning with Shoshi Reads OR you can go BACKWARDS and start with the stop before mine, Mountains of Rain & Sun. I’m happy that you’ve joined me for my interview with the author, M.C. Frank. First, let’s take a quick look at what this book is about:

Title: Lose Me.
Author: M.C. Frank
Release Date: April 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

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Synopsis:

Jane Austen meets New Adult fiction in this compulsively readable romance.

“Today is not the day I die.”

Ari Demos starts every day with this thought. Fresh out of high school, she’s landed a coveted role as a stunt double in a new Pride and Prejudice adaptation starring the Hollywood phenomenon Weston Spencer. But this job isn’t going to be easy: Ari will be performing complicated water stunts and driving fast cars along the narrow cliffs of Corfu. One false step and she could lose not only her job, but her life.

And then Wes Spencer, Mr Darcy himself, arrives in Greece. He’s got dirty blonde hair, a mile-long yacht and a bored look on that gorgeous face. Ari wants nothing to do with the rich actor boy, but on the day she meets him, she has an accident. One that almost claims her life. And now she can’t hide from the truth any longer:
She might be much closer to losing everything than she thought. She might be dying. And the British actor is the last person she’d expect to save her life.

She’s a hard-working island girl. He’s adored by millions.
Falling in love was never supposed to be a part of the job.
Staying alive was never supposed to be a part of growing up.

Was this story ever meant for a happily ever after?

I was fortunate to receive an Advanced Readers Copy from the author before the release. You can check out my review here.

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Tell me a little bit about your writing process – how do you get the characters and their stories onto the page?

  • It’s not that exciting if you look at it. The good stuff happens inside my head. I just sit down at my laptop and write! I take it everywhere with me, desk, bed, couch… and I just tap away. That’s pretty much it. Most of the book has been “written” before I start typing, however. It’s been already created in my head as well as fully outlined, and, of course, there’s a great deal of research that needs to be done beforehand, too.

What are your favorite books and authors? How do you feel like they influence your writing?

  • We could be here all day, but here’s a few: I love Jane Eyre, and I think it’s a pure work of genius. But I also love everything by Dickens and Shakespeare. From more modern writers, Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man is my all time favorite, and it actually inspired my sci-fi series No Ordinary Star. From YA fiction I would definitely pick Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, because feels.

Tell me some about your Greek background and how that influenced this book?

  • My father’s mom was originally from Corfu, and there’s a lot of her in Ari’s grandma –although Ari’s grandma is based on both of my grandmothers. I have spent several summers on that island, and I’m so proud of the heritage I carry from those kind, talented and wonderful people. I love how they express themselves through music and song, and how kind they are to strangers. But I also love the beauty of the place, the wildness, the color, the water. When I first thought of Lose Me taking place in Corfu, I knew the setting would be almost as much a ‘character’ in the story as the protagonists. And it did turn out to be the perfect backdrop for the movie Wes and Ari are shooting, as well as…for some other things. (wink)

What has been the most fun book for you to write so far? The most challenging?

  • Lose Me has been by far the most challenging, because I had to do a ton of research on stunts and stunt performers. But the hard work paid off in the end. The most fun book to write was Ruined. I just love Regency, I have been reading Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and all the other amazing writers of the genre since I was a teen, so it just flowed naturally for me.

What projects are you working on that we should be keeping our eyes out for? Any new books?

  • I have already planned and outlined a lot more books in the Lose Me universe. So if you’ve got a favorite side character, it’s more than probably they will be getting their own book soon! Next is Theo’s, I believe. But deep down, it’s Pan’s story I’m swooning over. Can you imagine a girl that could make a guy like that actually fall for her? Yeah, me neither. We’ll see how that goes.

In Lose Me. you have references to social media outlets and articles between the chapters. How has Tumblr and Instagram helped you as an author?

  • On tumblr and instagram I have found some of the most amazing readers ever, and met my best friend. I have no idea where I would be without them. Also, I think social media is a reality of our lives, and it would hardly be realistic to write a book about young people without taking into consideration how much of their time is spent on the Internet.

Without any spoilers, what was the most exciting part of writing this book?

  • Oh, the stunt sequences, no doubt. I loved researching and coming up with those. Writing them was so challenging, I had to pick every word carefully, but it was completely worth it!

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M.C. FRANK has been living in a world of stories ever since she can remember. She started writing them down when she could no longer stand the characters in her head screaming at her to give them life.

In her books, characters find themselves in icy-cold dystopian worlds where kissing is forbidden (among other things), or in green forests ruled by evil Sheriffs.

Recently she got her university degree in physics and is now free to pursue her love of reading and writing, as well as her freelance job of editor-in-chief. She currently lives with her husband in a home filled with candles, laptops and notebooks, where she rearranges her overflowing bookshelves every time she feels stressed.

She loves to connect with book lovers and other writers on social media. She’s found the most amazing friends and readers on tumblr and instagram, and they are what keeps her going when things get rough.

Connect with her on social media for awesome giveaways and free copies of her books! She would also love to talk to you about anything writing or publishing related.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

Buy the Book: Amazon

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One lucky reader will win a finished paperback copy of Lose Me!
Will run from April 11th to May 11th.

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Book Review – Waters of Salt and Sin

Title: Waters of Salt and Sin (Uncommon World #1)
Author: Alisha Klapheke
Published: April 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Goodreads

 Rating: 4 Stars
Cover: It’s Okay

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Synopsis:

When seventeen-year-old salt witch Kinneret learns of a lost island of silver, she sets out to find it, raise her status, and finally have a chance to wed Calev, the high-caste friend she secretly loves.

But when a madman enslaves her sister, Kinneret must make a deal with the local ruler: Find the island to secure the ruler’s place in history. In return, the woman’s fighting sailors will rescue Kinneret’s sister.

Using Salt Magic to navigate cursed waters, Kinneret and Calev struggle to hide their taboo, caste-breaking feelings, knowing if the ruler witnesses the attraction, she will cancel the agreement. But when Calev makes a terrible mistake, Kinneret must choose between the life of her only remaining family member and saving the boy she loves from a traitor’s death.

“Courage isn’t not being afraid,” Calev said. “It’s standing and fighting through your fear. Protecting those you love” (chapter 7).

Waters of Salt and Sin was such a fun read. I found myself captivated, unable to stop worrying about the characters and their safety. That’s one thing you need to know about this book—it is dangerous. No one is safe. However, not only do we get some kickbutt fighting scenes and many encounters with death, but we also get lovey dovey butterfly feelings and the fight for a non-traditional family. Plus, everything happens on the sea! You can’t get more excitement than this.

One theme that is engrained in the whole plotline is the tension between class statuses. More than anything, Kinneret just wants the safety and security that comes with a higher class status (or caste) than her own. Though this is a fictional world, this specific theme holds true to our world today. By putting such a focus on the quality of life between classes, Klapheke is commenting on the prejudices in our own society. It was such a bold commentary that no reader can come away from this book without considering how our own world handles these very issues. Kinneret even makes remarks that make it hard to ignore: “Caste meant nothing when it came to death” (chapter 40).

The world Klapheke created is so immersive, filled with beauty, ugliness, sorcery, and tales of treasure. The characters are even better! Kinneret is a badass who is loyal to the bone and won’t let anyone tell her she can’t do something. I love this about her. This quality makes her worth rooting for. But, where Kinneret can be a hothead, easily worked up about things, Calev is more grounded and rational. They are the perfect mixture, each having strengths that help the other person’s weaknesses. Be careful, you might get so connected with these characters that you can’t put the book down—don’t worry. There’s more books to come!

Hold on to your hats because Kinneret and Calev are about to take you on a trip across the seas that you’ll never forget!

“If we kept to safe things forever, we’d have no kind of life at all” (chapter 40)

Book Blitz/Review – The Animal Under the Fur

Title: The Animal Under the Fur
Author: E.J. Mellow
Published: March 30th 2017
Genre: Action, Adult, Romance

Rating: 5 stars
Cover: Love it

Synopsis:

From award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes an action romance dripping with vengeful delight.

Orphaned on the streets as a baby, Nashville Brown, a.k.a Kill Operative 3, knows better than to rely on anyone. With heightened senses and superhuman strength to survive, she’s been raised as the perfect assassin.

The trick to her success? Keeping everyone, even her best friend, at arm’s length.

Losing his entire family in the span of a year, Carter Smith left his ability to love buried deep in their graves. His only concerns now are completing his missions and effortlessly charming the next temptress to warm his bed.

The key to his accomplishments? Working alone mixed with a Casanova smile.

But when a deadly weapon needs to be stopped from falling into the wrong hands, the lone wolves find themselves thrown into an explosive partnership. Can Carter and 3 lower their guns aimed at one another long enough to succeed, or will their unwillingness to compromise end up destroying more than their perfect records? Whatever their differences, both agree on one thing—in the game of lies and deceit, the line between friend and foe is often blurred by blood splatter.

The Animal Under The Fur is a hate-to-loath-to-love standalone novel filled with savagery, secrets, and enough angst to wrinkle the pages you’ll find gripped in your hands.

“You know,” he says, “there’s other way to work through issues than with violence.” I cock my head to the side. “But so much less fun” (chapter 35)

Happy Book Birthday to The Animal Under the Fur! I had the privilege of receiving an Advanced Reader Copy from the author to give an honest review. This review is a part of TAUTF Book Blitz.

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How refreshing it is to read something completely badass and action-packed after reading a couple of YA Romance books. This book packs a punch! While being pitched as a hate-to-loath-to-love story makes some of the story arc predictable, there were so many twists that took me by surprise. I had no idea where E.J. Mellow was taking the story and I loved every second. Don’t put this book down; you don’t know what Carter and Nashville will get up to while you’re gone.

Cater Smith and Nashville Brown are assassins working for sister agencies. They both meet when accidentally assigned the same person to kill. Though their immediate hatred for each other causes their mission to go less than smoothly, both agencies decide to attempt to put them together purposefully to tackle a bigger mission as a team.

The characters are introduced with their flaws out on display almost instantly. Cater thinks with his dick always. His language and voice is characterized by phallic imagery and descriptions. He is vulgar and obsessed with sex. Nashville has such a deep sense of independence that she gives herself a superior persona. She distances herself from everyone, which lets her do her job better. Their hatred for each other is captivating, urging you to discover what they’ll do next. As you read, both Carter and Nashville’s strengths come to the surface and it’s charming as hell.

There is a moralistic element to this book that comes up in the second half and gives humanity to every character involved. Mellow consistently hits you in the gut through her imagery, the action-packed tension, the romance, and the humanity of people. The Animal Under the Fur is sexy, raw, and so freaking fun.

“There will be a tomorrow for you after it’s done” (chapter 55).

Purchase Links

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

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E.J. Mellow is the award-winning author of the contemporary fantasy trilogy The Dreamland Series and The Animal Under The Fur. With a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, E.J. Mellow splits her time between her two loves – visual design and writing. Residing in NYC, E.J. is a member of Romance Writers of America and their Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter. She has no animals but loves those who do.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Blog Tour/Review – Off the Ice

Title: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)
Author: Julie Cross
Published: February 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads 

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like it

Off the Ice CoverSynopsis:

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

“I’m breathing hard, my pulse pounding. Dad snatches the puck from my glove and stares me down. I can’t tell if he’s pissed that I blocked his shot or surprised. All I know is that I want him to go back to the center ice and do it again. And again.” (chapter 23)

I have the privilege of being on Entangled Teen’s blog tour for Julie Cross’s new book, Off the Ice. When I first heard of this book, I got excited because I love stories that involve hockey. After all, The Mighty Ducks was one of the best movies to grow up on. The boyfriend and I are even planning on going to a hockey game next week – bring it on! The hockey element definitely added some fun and tension to this story, which I loved. Before I get started with my review, I would just like to point out that there are many other stops on this tour! Check the banner below for more reviews, interviews, and guest posts to get you excited about this book.

OffTheIceTour

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR HERE!


I went into this book thinking it would be a fluffy romance with some conflict on the ice, something that was easy to read and made me feel good. That impression was shot down almost immediately. This snow-covered town of Juniper Falls holds so many secrets and the drama they cause can sometimes be dark. I was on the edge of my seat almost the entire day and a half it took me to finish this book. The drama! To reiterate, this isn’t a fluffy romance; the plot includes sex, alcohol abuse, underage drinking, physical abuse, and language.

Juniper Falls is a small, fictional town in Minnesota that lives and breathes hockey. The boys are raised to be hockey players and the girls to cheer them on (ayyye, sexist much? Though, there is mention of a little girl taking hockey classes, so a point for equality.) Tate grew up in the shadow of his hockey star father, whose dream in life is to relive his glory through his son. During the first game of the season, the Otters’ goalie walks out, and Tate suddenly goes from being a benchwarmer second goalie to the star goalie for the season. But can he get out of his head for long enough to catch the pucks? And what is he supposed to do with all these secrets coming out of the woodwork, including his own? The thing about Juniper Falls is that they have this perfect picture of what their town should look like. Anyone who strays from these perfectly functioning idealisms is ostracized and shut out. Tate struggles with keeping his own secrets from coming out, while also figuring out how to respond to those that have had their life and choices put on display.

Claire was chasing her dreams of being an actress at college when her world got flipped upside down and she was called home to help with her father and his bar. She develops this strong, independent will that ultimately puts other’s needs before her own. Whether this means sabotaging her own dreams or pushing people away so that they can find their own, Claire constantly has a battle in her head about what she deserves and what other people need. Like Tate, she also struggles with the secrets she knows and how different people would respond to these.

Chasing dreams, making them your own, discovering the values of friendships, and finding a love worth fighting for, Off the Ice has such beautiful themes, which are diamonds in the darkness of the heavier themes found. The writing feels very much as if in a high schooler’s head, so it wasn’t exceptionally stimulating, but the plot definitely took my by surprise and gripped me until the very end. The climax(es) had my heart pounding, but the fight for love and dreams melted me to a puddle. Tate and Claire’s adventure is a rollercoaster you will need to buckle up your heart for, wrapping up smoothly with hopes for the future.

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | Indies | B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

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Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, and Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press). She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibilities, Julie Cross is a committed—but not talented—long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

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Lose Me. – Book Review

Title: Lose Me. (ARC)
Author: M.C. Frank
Published: April 11th, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance 

Rating: 4 Stars
Cover: Like It

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Synopsis:

Jane Austen meets New Adult fiction in this compulsively readable romance.

“Today is not the day I die.”

Ari Demos starts every day with this thought. Fresh out of high school, she’s landed a coveted role as a stunt double in a new Pride and Prejudice adaptation starring the Hollywood phenomenon Weston Spencer. But this job isn’t going to be easy: Ari will be performing complicated water stunts and driving fast cars along the narrow cliffs of Corfu. One false step and she could lose not only her job, but her life.

And then Wes Spencer, Mr Darcy himself, arrives in Greece. He’s got dirty blonde hair, a mile-long yacht and a bored look on that gorgeous face. Ari wants nothing to do with the rich actor boy, but on the day she meets him, she has an accident. One that almost claims her life. And now she can’t hide from the truth any longer:
She might be much closer to losing everything than she thought. She might be dying. And the British actor is the last person she’d expect to save her life.

She’s a hard-working island girl. He’s adored by millions.
Falling in love was never supposed to be a part of the job.
Staying alive was never supposed to be a part of growing up.

Was this story ever meant for a happily ever after?

“The truth is, people don’t survive alone. And they certainly don’t thrive alone.” – p. 312

I recently received an advanced readers copy of Lose Me. from the author, M.C. Frank. I absolutely adored her No Ordinary Star series (reviews here and here), so I was pretty excited to hear that she had written something new and a little bit different. This is primarily why I picked up this book, whereas I would otherwise tend to stay away from NA Romance books. It seems that so many NA books out there have uncomfortable covers with shirtless guys, sometimes sensually grabbing onto a girl as if their life depended on it. What’s inside doesn’t get much more engaging. I’ve only read a couple books under this category, but the ones I have read or flipped through are filled with sex and sexual tension from beginning to end. Honestly, I’d rather not spend my time reading about the sex lives of flat characters. However, since I already know and love Frank’s writing, I decided to give it a shot. The first thing that told me this book would be different was the cover. Come on, guys—just look at that cover! It is way more inviting, creative, and well done than most novels in this genre. How could you skip over this beauty? Plus, the inside gets better! Once I picked it up to read, I cursed every distraction and responsibility that forced me to put it back down again.

Lose Me. is written in a carefree, conversational way as if Ari, our main girl, were sitting down with you, fingers curled around a mug of coffee, telling you all about her life. The story takes place primarily in Greece, with some appearances in New York and England. The descriptions of Greece are gorgeous and gave me a sense of wanderlust. I felt almost like I was there and had been there before, even though I’ve never even left the US in my life. The country’s beauty was captivating and felt like home. Frank, who is Greek herself, did a wonderful job of cultivating her sense of home and conveying that through her writing.

Without getting into spoilers, the middle of the book didn’t grab me as much as the as the rest, but I genuinely cared so much about the characters that I felt a sense of urgency to continue reading. I could feel the pain the characters were going through during some of the conflict and this pushed me on. I sometimes found myself wanting to yell at poor decisions made and tuck the characters in my pocket to keep them safe. Another disappointing aspect was that it felt like the book was rushed in the editing stages. Some scenes went on for a long time and were repetitive, and some of the edits just felt like they could’ve been better. Other than these two aspects, I loved this read. 

A huge theme throughout this book is trust. Who should we trust our entire life with and when is it okay to not know? Everything Ari goes through boils down to this discovery: people need people. I absolutely love this and would smile (I’d say internally, but who knows what actually goes on with my face when I’m immersed in a book) every time Ari realized that she needed the support that the people around her are trying to freely give more than she needs to protect them and their emotions or to protect herself. You go, girl. Stop thinking so selfishly about yourself and let people love you. After all, how boring would life be if we didn’t have people near to our hearts to share it with, the joys and the trials? Life is much more rich when you have people to experience it with you, to encourage you, to challenge you, and to hold your hand when things get scary. “People don’t survive alone” (p. 312).