Interesting Take On High School Love Angles. This book is quirky enough to make everything work, and yet has a lot of things about it that will throw various groups off – often having some element that may be popular with one group, yet having another element that will be off-putting to that same group. For example, you’ve got the aura-reading ability where our main character sees emotions as colors and you’ve got the nonbinary side character – and yet the book’s very premise is that our main character is openly catfishing, gets caught doing so, and yet things somehow still work out for her. You’ve got some good, hard work ethic going with both our main character and her best friend, and yet the best friend openly chooses the boy over her best friend. You’ve got the seemingly rural small town North Carolina vibe going on – and you’ve got the aforementioned nonbinary character that seems mostly tacked in just to have an excuse to go off on “small minded Republicans” and to be able to promote that the book has a queer character. It could be argued that doing this character in this manner isn’t inclusive, but exploitive – and off putting to at least some potential readers anyway. And yet, despite all of its contradictions and issues… the book truly does work. If you’re into young adult/ high school romance at all, this book is going to scratch most every itch you have there, and it does in fact have the interesting wrinkles of the auras and how to *use* that ability to set it apart from the field naturally, without needing all of the other aspects. In the end, despite coming close to seeming to try too hard, this really is a mostly benign and fairly interesting tale within its genre, and a very easy and mostly inoffensive summer/ beach read that won’t get the pulse pounding too much, but will instead be a more charming and breezy read while sitting poolside or oceanside soaking up some sun. Recommended.
PS: There is no such thing as a love triangle without at least two of the three people involved being bisexual. Thus, while some describe this book as featuring a love “triangle”, as all three involved are never described as bisexual, it is most accurately described as a love “angle”, with three points and two line segments, the segments meeting at a common point. But this could well be the former math teacher and Autistic in me coming out. I admittedly tend to be a bit pedantic on this particular point. 🙂
This review of The Broken Hearts Club by Susan Bishop Crispell was originally written on May 26, 2023.
Angsty Teen Sports Romance. For those that enjoy revisiting the high drama of falling for your best friend in high school, look no further. We’re going back to summer camp, y’all, and this time we’ve got love on the diamonds. With a fair amount of actual sports action from various practices to actual games and with all the fun of summer camp on a small college campus in the middle of nowhere, we get a solid tale of “should I/ I shouldn’t”… that we all know how will ultimately wind up, because this *is* a romance novel. 🙂 But Benjamin executes the entire story well, and when our leads *finally* get together… well, there may be quite a bit of dust in the room. And maybe someone just cut up a lot of onions too. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll probably want to knock some sense into both of these teenagers. But in the end, you’ll get a solid bit of escapism for a few hours… and isn’t that what we ultimately read fiction for anyway? Very much recommended.
This review of Foul Play With My Best Friend by Christina Benjamin was originally written on March 30, 2022.
This week we’re looking at a book that has a slow start and a LOT of moving parts that ultimately all ties together into a satisfyingly suspenseful tale. This week we’re looking at The Lying Club by Annie Ward.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Slow Start Yet Overall Satisfying. This is one of those books that starts a bit slow and has a LOT of moving parts and thus can be a touch difficult to keep track of at times, even for those of us who like this type of setup. One where there is little action and it seems a touch pointless at times… until the back parts of the book where the action truly finally picks up steam and gets fairly suspenseful. And yet, by the end all is tied up neatly – perhaps a bit too neatly, and the epilogue is perhaps unneeded as well. Ultimately a strong book that arguably tries to do a bit too much – but still largely succeeds in telling its tale its way. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, social and buy links.
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of The Week: The Lying Club by Annie Ward”
Interesting Story That Could Have Been Better Told. IF you complete this tale, you’ll get one that is ultimately an interesting story more of descent into paranoia than of uncovering the truth of a murder, one where the author chooses an ending that is less conventional and therefore more interesting. IF. The singular biggest problem with this tale is that the way it is told makes it Just. So. BORING. As in, even I caught myself falling asleep to it as quickly at times as if I was trying to read a Chemistry textbook. As in, this could rival the first three chapters of The Great Gatsby for most boring tale ever told. But again, IF you can survive the boring manner in which the story is told, it is quite interesting. Fans of other hyper-boring yet massively successful books like The Road by Cormac MCCarthy may be better suited to this book than I was. Recommended.
This review of Catch Her When She Falls by Allison Buccola was originally written on February 22, 2022.
Excellent Series Starter. This is a romance that manages to be both first-love *and* second-chance, as HS sweethearts who had been friends then best friends since forever before finally dating had broken up a year before the events of this book – and this book is as much about the fallout/ reconnecting there as it is about soccer. And yet, the actual soccer does indeed play a prominent role in this tale – which is not exactly a common feature of many of the previous Tomboy tales Benjamin and friends had worked on in the previous couple of years. So a marked improvement in the balance there, and in integrating both sports and romance. The secondary couple here being so prominently displayed throughout this particular story shows quite blatantly who Book 2 will be about, and this reader is looking forward to that tale as well. Very much recommended.
This review of Offsides With My Ex-Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin was originally written on August 30, 2021.