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review 2018-05-17 00:36
ARC Review: Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson
Fourteen Summers - Quinn Anderson

The book opens with a wedding ceremony. Yes, you read that right.

Okay, so, fine, it's a pretend wedding ceremony, and the boys are but 10 years old or so, but it establishes from the start what dynamics may be at play.

Max and Aiden are identical twins, with Max being the older brother by a few minutes, which has shaped their relationship for a long time. Max was always the more outgoing, and Aiden, much more introverted, was happy to stand in his brother's shadow while they were younger. Now, with both of them at college, Aiden wants to be more than just Max's brother.

Oliver was their childhood friend until divorce meant leaving with his mother, and his father moving away as well. But now his father has moved back to their old town, and Oliver has come home for the summer. The family dynamics, with loud, overbearing uncles and with parents that still can't seem to stand being in the same room together, has Oliver not wanting to spend much time at his father's house, so he's real happy to run into Max and Aiden again. Introverted like Aiden, Oliver is perfectly content to let Max plan their get-togethers, especially since that allows him to moon over Aiden, his childhood crush.

For the most part, this read like a YA/NA novel, with lots of mooning and crushing and blushing, and not a whole lot of on page action, and characters who on occasion sounded younger than their purported years, but maturity is a sliding scale so I was mostly fine with their portrayals.

What I really liked is that the author primarily explored the dynamics at play between two twin brothers who have been joined at the hip most of their lives, and a boy coming between them when Aiden and Oliver get romantically involved. I loved how Max's jealousy was explored, how it realistically became a roadblock, and how it forced honesty and open conversation between Aiden and Max and allowed them to experience real growth in their relationship. In fact, the book, told from the POVs of all three of the young man, really focuses more so on the relationship struggles between the twins than the developing romance between Oliver and Aiden. While the crush/romance serves as a catalyst to the struggles Max and Aiden go through, it's not the the only focus of this book.

The characters, their portrayals, felt realistic to me for the most part, other than their maturity levels, and that's probably more so on me than the author - I guess I expected a bit more from 20 year olds even if they're twins. Out of the three of them, I would say that Oliver is probably the most mature, which is potentially due to him being a child of divorce, which tends to make you grow up a little faster, and also because he's an only child.

There are some interesting supporting characters as well. The twins' parents welcome Oliver back with open arms, and make him feel like he's part of the family again. They were perhaps slightly too perfect, but meh, I didn't care. I liked them. Oliver's parents are supportive of him, but also don't necessarily create an environment for him in which he feels free, on either side. His uncles and extended family on his father's side are a loud bunch, which introverted Oliver doesn't like so much, and his mother, while supportive, seemed to struggle somewhat with wanting her child have a relationship with his father, and also not realizing that the divorce affected Oliver much more than she thought.

The book ends with a super sweet epilogue, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Quinn Anderson has proven once again that she can write fully fleshed out characters, with realistic, convincing characterizations, and a believable plot and timeline.

Highly recommended.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-04-18 16:23
100 Days - Mimsy Hale

DNF @ 45%

I tried, I really tried to finish this book it has been a week since I started this book and my feelings about it didn't change so I finally decided to DNF it.

To me this road trip was the most boring one I have ever read about, the Mcs Jake and Aiden were dull and silly and I couldn't connect with them at all and to Jake was extremely annoying.

I decided at least I deserve to know the ending after putting up with this book for so long, even though with any other book this will be the perfect HEA for me, in this book I didn't feel it at all.

Overall this wasn't a good book for me and I didn't enjoy reading it. 

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review 2018-01-29 05:47
The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away #1) by Roni Loren
The Ones Who Got Away - Roni Loren
Finn and Olivia are part of a group of students that survived a school-shooting on prom night known as The Ones Who Got Away. He has been working as a cop for the past few years but returns home to take part in a documentary that will mark the anniversary of that fateful day. Once back home, he gets reacquainted with Olivia and other friends, but it’s definitely Olivia who’s never far from his thoughts and for whom he still has deep feelings.

I really liked their relationship. The traumatic event they went through helps them form a very unique bond since not many people around them are capable of understanding what their lives are like. At first they are a little hesitant to start any kind of relationship but then they realize that it’s in each other’s company that they will find the courage to move forward and live the lives they always wanted to live. I also liked how realistic and relatable the characters felt. I can honestly say I’ve never related to a character as much as I did to Olivia. Someone would say something to her and my mind would wander to a response and sure enough, that’s how she had responded in the book! I thought that was terrific and funny! Finn was such a perceptive and lovable man what with him being a cop trying to atone for past mistakes, and also being a regular man facing the same kind of problems any other person in his situation would. I thought the author did a great job in making such authentic characters. 

The story itself was different and even a bit gritty. While it has dark themes and deals with some PTSD issues it never falls into the extremes of angst or revenge, and it keeps the humor on the lighter side without being comical. In short, it was an endearing story about friendship, survival, leaving the past in the past, and above all, love. 

** I won a copy of this ARC through BookishFirst. This is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
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review 2018-01-29 04:12
Lost Treasure (Audiobook)
Lost Treasure - Kate Sherwood

For a story about a guy going up to Canada to settle his estranged grandmother's estate, this is a refreshingly angst-free story. Sure, Kyle has regrets about his grandmother, but mostly he spends the book remembering why her cabin by the lake was once a happy summer retreat for him and realizing that he's been a little too compliant with his parents' expectations for his life. 

 

He also gets reunited with his childhood friend Ryan, who of course has grown up to be a total hottie, and who has a great kid who is freakishly well-behaved but not a total pod person. Since Kyle isn't planning to stay, they decide to just stick to being friends. Of course, that doesn't last long. Look, can someone explain to me why getting beat up is such a turn on? What is the appeal here? I don't get it.

 

In the meantime, Kyle has to hand out his grandmother's bequests, which is a series of baffling "interviews" with various townsfolk who all have their own stories to tell about Kyle's grandmother. And isn't it great that they all became better people? :D

 

This is a short, sometimes sweet sometimes funny but mostly average romance with a dash of self-discovery thrown in for good measure.

 

The narrator did a decent job, though he really made me want to fast-forward through the sex scenes even more than I usually do.

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review 2018-01-28 00:00
More than Friends: (A Friends to Lovers Standalone Romance)
More than Friends: (A Friends to Lovers Standalone Romance) - Jillian Quinn I wanted to explain my rating.

This wasn't the worst book ever, but I felt like everything was skimmed over - nothing developed.

I wasn't invested in any of the characters. I didn't believe any of the relationships. The storyline wasn't anything new, but could've been really interesting if things had been fleshed out and not just dropped onto the page.

I know I sound harsh, I just wanted more.
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