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review 2015-10-22 20:07
Awkward - Marni Bates

So, I have a bit of a goofy grin on my face right now. That last page or so, the thing I've been waiting almost 150 pages for!!, finally happened. *grins*


I'm a happy bunny.


But back to the story. Admittedly the storyline is a little unbelievable--unless you live America, obviously--but I quickly got over that and just invested myself in the possible relationships of Mackenzie. I know she liked one guy and was a bit oblivious to most things around her with her wanting to be invisible but come on! I figured out about the other thing within 100 pages!


After the video of her CPR Fail went viral, her life went a bit national-news and I guess stuff like that does happen but again I struggled to understand that part of it. Some bits were cool; the band and Ellen but other bits just made me go "huh, really?"


Nevertheless, I did enjoy the story and wouldn't mind reading more by this author.

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review 2014-11-03 01:22
Review for Awkwardly Ever After (Smith High #4) by Marni Bates
Awkwardly Ever After - Marni Bates

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

Awkwardly Ever After is a novel broken into three parts, each following a different couple on their way to...well coupledom.  Instead of giving a broad summery of all three up here as per usual, I'm just going to break it down in the character analysis bit because I don't like summarizing several different stories together, even if they all follow a similar path.

The first tale is about Melanie Morris and her love for her best friend's younger brother, Dylan.  She is scared this crush will not only ruin her friendship with her bestie, but also won't lead to the relationship she is hoping for.  She also hates the idea of feeling like a cradle robber, which is a concept I find funny.  Girls in high school are constantly dating boys in college or in a higher grade and the guys in those relationships aren't looked down upon.  Hell, in any relationship really, it seems acceptable for the man to be older, but there is a stigma attached to the older woman.  It's a bit fascinating to think about and more than a little stupid.  ANYWAY....my point is, Melanie wants to move forward but she's too terrified by the possible consequences to act.  And doing nothing may have the same result because it's obvious to anyone with eyes that Dylan feels the same way she does.  

I really enjoyed both characters.  Melanie is smart and sweet and brave.  Dylan is mature for his age and clearly wants to move things forward with Melanie, but at her pace.  He understands her fears, but at the same time, he thinks she worries about it a bit too much and should just let people get over it, because we all know they will.  The chemistry and angsty romance between them was easy to get behind and cheer for.  

The second story is about Isobel and Spencer.  Here are two people that couldn't be more different.  Isobel is the chubby nerd and Spencer is a star athlete.  But the attraction that has just flared up between them can't be denied and the only real question is, can they get over themselves and make it work or is it doomed to failure.  I feel like this story could have been taken to a whole new level.  Here we have it, finally a chubby heroine, and I feel like Bates just skips over that topic.  I was looking for a bigger, better speech from Spencer about how he likes her as she is and how her size doesn't matter and all that jazz.  I was looking for reassurance and Isobel finding her confidence in herself and her beauty.  We do get a bit of that, but I feel like it could have been more.  Despite that, both Isobel and Spencer were enjoyable characters and their banter was quite amusing.  I enjoyed watching them fight and then make up.  I loved seeing them work it all out and realize that they didn't need to have all the answers right now.

The final story is about Corey & Timothy.  Corey is a student at Smith High and Timothy is a rockstar.  This is about their relationship and their fight to be allowed to attend prom as a couple.  I could go into more detail than that, but that's basically it.  They want to be together despite the odds and though their relationship is good, they still have a lot to work on.  The biggie is communication.  Corey has to learn to speak his mind and let Tim know what's going on, or things are never going to work out long term.  

I really enjoy their relationship.  I like how it isn't perfect and they have a real struggle, but it's a normal struggle, like communication issues.  In a lot of YA stories about gay couples, their problems always seem to center around coming out and getting the world to accept them and I loved that this didn't focus on that.  That part of the story is over.  They are both out, the world knows they are together.  Get the hell over it.  While there is a bit of a struggle getting particular people to get on board with them attending prom, this is much more about them and their issues.  It's obvious they both care, but Tim needs to learn to allow Corey to have input and Corey needs to step up and demand a say.  

All three stories in this where entertaining and fun, with just enough seriousness to have them feeling too light.  My only issue with them is I feel like they all need to be longer.  I've made it pretty well known that I don't like short stories or anthologies overly much because I feel like you can't tell the story clearly enough in that short space.  These are a bit longer, but I still wanted more.  They all felt a bit rushed, like there were trying to make the story fit into this allotted space instead of letting the story lead.  Now, that feeling may be because I haven't read any of the other novels in this series.  I know they other novels aren't specifically about these characters, but I'm sure we get some development for each of them there, so maybe that is my issue, but either way, it bugged me.  That has been a problem in many a book lately, it has felt rushed.  Stories need time to grow and evolve and I'm willing to read however many more pages they require to do so.  

All I'm really saying is that these stories are great little tales, that could use a bit more time, but work well enough in the space you are given.  They all have that must keep reading quality, once you get just a little ways in.  They all allow you to disappear into their world for short stent, and really, that's all I look for in a book.  I want to be entertained and enraptured and lost to the real world because of this fascinating fictional one.  On that count, this succeeds with flying colors.  I think most people will enjoy it, love it probably, because most people aren't quite as picky as I am about the length of the story. :)

****Thank you to KTeen for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

Tabitha's signature

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review 2014-01-23 15:57
Review: Notable
Notable - Marni Bates

I have been following this series from the start. Each book features a character deeply and in a new way.


Plot: Chelsea is your typical popular gal.  Neglected by her parents yet forced to adhere to their standards, Chelsea is forced to leave on trip outside the country in order for her to get her life together. I think this plot plays well with character development as well as plot build up. It builds up nicely with a start that is harsh yet emotional and then flowed onward to a trip of a lifetime.


Chelsea: Even though she is a popular gal and always gets what she wants, she turned out to be quite different than what I thought. I like that the author used Chelsea's popularity to her advantage. You think that just because she is popular and has bad grades doesn't mean she doesn't know anything. She is actually quite smart and uses what she knows to her best ability. Because of her being popular, Chelsea has some thick skin. She is very blunt and very good at hiding any hurt.


Ending: I like the way Chelsea develop over the course of the story. She doesn't completely change and that's okay but she learns to be herself. She learns to love and accept herself.


This is another great addition to the series. Packing a punch with a smart-mouthed gal, Notable is fantastic.

Source: www.bookswithbite.net
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review 2014-01-02 00:00
Decked with Holly
Decked with Holly - Marni Bates review coming soon
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review 2013-11-23 00:00
Decked with Holly
Decked with Holly - Marni Bates It was a little less Christmassy than I had expected because one of the main characters, Holly, is of Jewish descent, so Christmas wasn’t exactly a holiday that she celebrates. Still, the story takes place over Christmas and with all the cuteness overflowing from it, it’s sure to be a book that gives all warm and fuzzy feels. It’s also a very entertaining one that will fill a slow afternoon over the holidays.

Decked With Holly is told from dual points of view: Holly and Dominic, aka as Nick or Don, depending on who you are. Actually, everyone knows him as Holly. Only Holly knows him as Nick, as a result of his attempt to keep his identity private. Ironically, Dominic is from this band ReadySet which also happens to be Holly’s favourite band. As the drummer though, he didn’t get as much of her attention until they bumped into each other on a cruise. Or rather, until she accidentally broke into his suite’s bathroom. Clearly this book is riddled with incredulous events but they are what makes this such a hilarious book as well.

I’m not sure if I liked Holly all that much or if I even could get round to the dynamics of her family. Both her parents died in a car crash, so her grandfather mostly raised her. Though this also meant that she was always in the close vicinity of her mean aunt and cousins who have very vicious tongues that never fail to direct insults at her. As for Dom, well, he was looking for a much needed break. He didn’t get that. Instead he ends up forced into pretending to be in a relationship with Holly in order to salvage his band’s image.

Those looking for a humorous and light read that is tinged with romance, then Decked With Holly will not disappoint. There are a myriad of laugh-out-loud moments. For a contemporary book though, I think it must be read with an extreme suspension of disbelief and be taken with a huge helping of many grains of salt. The realism really is outrageous. Then again, apparently reality is sometimes so unbelievable, if used in fiction, it comes across as unrealistic. Either way, yes, forget about how the world tends to operate, allow for fairy tale endings.

The style of writing was very fitting and I think it’s mostly because of that that I was still able to enjoy reading the book. I know that I do end up looking for light reads a lot of the time but then end up disappointed because I thought those books ended up pretty shallow. In this case, I’d say the humour made up for the shallowness. The humour and the feel good mood of it all in the end.

This review can also be found on dudettereads.com.
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