Monday, May 17, 2021

Books I Read in March and April

A bit late, but here are my thoughts on all of the books I read in March and April! I was really surprised by how many books I read, but I think the Elle Kennedy series helped by being so good and so easy to read.
Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
As someone from Massachusetts I have to be annoying for one moment: There's a part in this novel where Juniper says that she's driven through Boston on her way to Springfield from New York. Incorrect. If you're driving to Springfield from New York and you end up in Boston, you missed a turn. 
Moving on, I loved this book. It was fun to read about high schoolers exploring colleges for the first time because it's such an exciting time. I didn't do a full college tour road trip like Fitz and Juniper, but I remember touring campuses and trying to picture myself sitting in the classrooms and making friends in the dorms. It's also a little scary. It's a big change, which is definitely something Fitz and Juniper learn along the way. Fitz learns that being away from home doesn't mean abandoning the people there and Juniper learns that she doesn't need to be too far away to get the space and freedom she craves. The road trip also impacts the personal relationships of the characters. Fitz discovers that his brother isn't as self-centered as he originally thought and has in fact made sacrifices for their mother, just like Fitz is trying to do. On the other side of that spectrum, Juniper and Matt realize that their relationship wasn't meant to last past high school, and in fact staying together would hold both of them back. And of course, Fitz and Juniper grow closer and closer as their interest align and they get to know each other.  
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
I had no idea going into this that it was a one bed situation. Typically, I like the one bed trope, when it happens to an enemies to lovers at a hotel or a fake dating couple at a wedding, but the idea of renting a room knowing that you're sharing a bed with your roommate is so bizarre to me. And sure, they weren't in the bed at the same time, but it was still so odd, and it took me a long to time to get past that. Also, it took me a minute to get used to how Leon's mind worked and his chapters were written. Once I did get past those things I did enjoy the novel. The communication via notes was cute as anything and the two of them were such a good couple. Watching them get to know each other through their stuff and then through notes and then finally in person was unlike anything I've really read before and it was interesting to see how their perceptive of each other changed as time went on,
The Lake by Natasha Preston
Esme knows something is up from the very beginning of this novel, and I love it. She's immediately on guard and once bad things start happening she's not surprised. However, because this is a Natasha Preston YA Thriller, being prepared means nothing. All of the counselors have secrets that they're not willing to part with which means it takes them longer to figure out all of the connections between everyone and what exactly is going on. Not going to lie, I thought Kayla was kinda annoying. She was so scared of the truth getting out, but it was an accident that happened years before. It just seemed like they would have gotten through whatever repercussions came from telling the truth. And if they came clean, they would have been able to give more information to Andy. The final scene was really sad, and I wasn't expecting so much death, but there was one thing that made me a little more hopeful than most Preston Novels. Esme is left sitting with a bunch of dead teenagers and the gun that killed them, but she never actually touched the gun, so I think the police will believe that she didn't do anything.
Elle Kennedy
TikTok made me buy it! These Elle Kennedy books were all over my TikTok so I decided to buy The Off-Campus Series and then I quickly bought the Briar U Series. They're considered two different series, but they don't really need to be. They all follow Briar U hockey players (except Jake, who plays for Harvard) as they fall in love. Instead of giving overviews on all of them, I'm just going to share my favorite aspects of each one.

I quickly became obsessed with these books. I love new adult romances because the characters are typically in college so they're a bit more mature than those in YA, but they also tend to have more freedoms and responsibilities because they're living on a college campus, which can lead to more serious drama.  

All of these books cover serious topics including insecurities, sexual assault, strained family relationships, drugs, pregnancy, and death. However they do so while also being absolutely hysterical. The conversations they have are so realistic and ridiculous that I couldn't help but laugh to myself as I read.  
The Off-Campus Series
This series follows the four boys who live in the off-campus apartment. 
The Deal  
Garrett and Hannah: the couple that started it all. The hands-off law is great for a number of reasons. 1) It's hilarious that everyone took it so seriously. 2) I loved that Garrett did it not because he was being possessive, but because he knew there was something Hannah wasn't telling him. He was willing to give her space and time to come clean, but he wasn't willing to give up on their relationship.
The Mistake 
Logan is scared to go after what he wants because of his father. He doesn't pursue the NHL because he knows he has to work at his dad's auto body shop, so there's no point. He expects Grace will break up with him because when his dad falls down the stairs drunk Logan is the one who has to help pick him up. However, Grace knows that Logan is up for a challenge and isn't willing to give up that easily, which results in an amazing declaration of love that proves that just because you love someone doesn't mean you always like them. 
The Score 
Everyone told Dean and Allie not to get involved, but Dean isn't going to say no when Allie wants rebound sex and somehow it snowballed from there. The comfort scene is the best moment in this book. Dean's sole focus is on making Allie feel better, but it's combatted with his "I'll deal with you two later" attitude towards a shocked Garrett and Hannah. This book also has a terribly sad and unexpected death in it that turns Dean's whole world upside down, but sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to decide what's important.
The Goal 
A lot of people don't like this book (at least compared with the others) because it involves a pregnancy trope. However, the only issue I have with it is whether or not it was realistic. The way they got pregnant seemed like such a long shot, but obviously still possible. And then I just don't know if Sabrina would have been able to handle the Harvard Law workload and a newborn. I feel like she would have needed to defer for a year, but she made it work which was awesome to see. Other than that though I didn't mind the pregnancy trope. Especially because Tucker and Sabrina already had feelings for each other before they found out about the pregnancy. In fact they held back their feelings after that because they were afraid the other would think they were saying it for the sake of the baby. I think John Tucker is a stand up guy and Sabrina is a GirlBoss we should all be afraid of.
Briar U Series
This series include Fitz and Hunter, who took over the off-campus apartment lease, and also Jake and Conor who don't live there. The only complaint I have about this series is that there should have been a bonus Mike Hollis novella because he's nuts in the best possible way. Then again, maybe we wouldn't be able to handle getting a look inside his, or Rupi's minds.
The Chase
Fitz tried so hard not to like Summer. It was adorable to watch, but we all knew that they belonged together. And for a couple who tries to keep their relationship under wraps they get walked in on quite a few times. The greatest part was at the end when Dean finds out. 
The Risk
Jake and Brenna, the star-crossed lovers. One is the Briar coach's daughter. The other is a player for the rival team. Sounds dramatic, right? That's because it is, and people do not take kindly to the revelation. Thankfully, they eventually get over it and no one dies unnecessarily.  Also the good luck bracelet is the cutest thing.
The Play
I didn't love that Demi basically forced Hunter to have sex with her. Don't get me wrong, I like them as a couple, and I didn't mind that Demi and Conor were flirting to make him jealous, but I wish Hunter saw that as more of a joke than a real threat. It felt like their first time was more of something Hunter felt like he had to do than how he really wanted to do it. Obviously they were both interested in each other and it was only a matter of time until they got together, but how it happened wasn't great. 
The Dare 
It killed me that Taylor broke up with Conor for the same reason she got mad at him for breaking up with her. And she knows it! She calls herself out on it, but she rationalizes that his secret was about something in his past that could easily be fixed, while her's could effect her entire future. Which was true, but it still came down to miscommunication - typical!   

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