Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Synopsis:
259154232They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, hotties on hockey skates, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I have been wanting this book FOREVER, and when I saw it go on a brief sale for $2.99 (I think it’s close to $5 regular price), I was all over it like a fat kid on a smartie….  And it totally lived up to the hype!!  That’s something I always worry about, you know?  But I’ve read both of these authors individually and loved them, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that they would churn out a piece of gold when working together.

These characters had so much chemistry together, they seriously just felt right together.  And it wasn’t just the smoking sex scenes, it was the friendship chemistry too you know?  Even after being apart for 4 years, they seemed to just meld back into best friends like their friendship was easy.

I loved learning their backstory in little pieces from each of their perspectives…it was frustrating at first b/c a flashback would get cut off right as we were learning what happened, but in the end I liked the way it played out.

I can’t even tell you which one was my favourite, b/c I liked them both for very different reasons.  Jamie was just so accepting and logical…he never flew off the handle or jumped in to his emotions.  He took the time to reason things through and actually think about what he was feeling, and what it meant for him.  Wes was somewhat the opposite — letting his emotions get the better of him sometimes.  But somehow they really fit together.

I loved the challenges that they faced, both in their love lives and in their personal lives beyond that.  I LOVED Jamie’s family….LOVED.  Loved the emotions we got from Wes when he got to meet them.  I loved the many bits of hockey throughout this book — from playing it, to coaching it and helping kids become better.  I was dismayed that yet again (b/c it happened in one other Sarina Bowen book I think) they changed the name of one of the NHL teams for reasons that I don’t understand…it would be different if they changed them all (but the Boston Bruins were mentioned), or created an entirely new fictional team in a new town, but instead we got the Toronto Panthers…*sigh*  It’s a stupid thing to bug me, but I just don’t understand the logic of it I guess…

Now I just wish I had taken note of the date of the release of the next book, so it would already be in my greedy hands instead of having to wait a few days…I know, rough life eh?  A few measly days.  BUT I WANT MORE NOW!!!

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Center Ice by Cate Cameron

Synopsis:
25354188This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, underage drinking, sexual situations, and crazy squirrels. It may cause you to become a fan of hockey – or at least hot hockey players.

The hometown hockey hero won’t know what hit him…

Karen Webber is in small-town hell. After her mother’s death, she moved to Corrigan Falls to live with strangers – her dad and his perfect, shiny new family – and there doesn’t seem to be room for a city girl with a chip on her shoulder. The only person who makes her feel like a real human being is Tyler MacDonald.

But Karen isn’t interested in starting something with a player. And that’s all she keeps hearing about Tyler.

Corrigan Falls is a hockey town, and Tyler’s the star player. But the viselike pressure from his father and his agent are sending him dangerously close to the edge. All people see is hockey – except Karen. Now they’ve managed to find something in each other that they both desperately need. And for the first time, Tyler is playing for keeps…

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My Review:
4 stars — After having the privilege to read the 2nd book in this series through NetGalley, and thoroughly enjoying it, I just knew I had to read Tyler and Karen’s story too…  And I was not disappointed, it gave me all the great things that Chris and Claudia’s story did, but in a totally different set of circumstances…so it wasn’t just a cookie cutter copy romance.

Again, this was a fantastic YA.  While it had a fabulous romance going for it, in some ways the struggles that both characters were dealing with were the more important focus of the book…it just happened that they found each other while dealing with some heavy things, and came together and found solace with each other.

Karen’s struggles were more obvious — dealing with the death of the only parent you’ve ever known, having to fit into a different family…  The one that I found the most intriguing, and was kind of a background story, was dealing with a parent who’s not faithful, and the impact it can have on the rest of the family…especially when you’re living in a small town.  I like that the author didn’t shy away from that — that her father, Will, wasn’t a horrible ogre villain either, just a guy who continually makes bad choices that hurt his family.  It was more realistic maybe.  Because in the end things aren’t completely black and white, and it’s not always as easy as people want it to be.  It’s just not a topic that I’ve personally ever read about before.

Strangely enough, one of my favourite secondary characters ended up being Karen’s stepmother Natalie.  She was in the WORST position imaginable, and she just tried so hard to do the right thing and help everyone adjust and cope.  I was really happy with how her relationship with Karen developed.  The half siblings were interesting too, and I appreciated all their different approaches to the changes.  I could even see how Karen and Miranda’s interactions could get so heated — it reminded you that they were just teenagers dealing with this stuff, and so would not handle it all in a mature way.

Tyler’s struggles were not as common and black and white.  I grew up with kids in the WHL (Western Hockey League, the OHL equivalent on my side of the country), and so I’ve seen the strange hero worship that can happen in smaller towns…I’ve even seen the “puck bunnies”, and I can’t imagine what life would be like living with a billet, away from your family.  Sometimes I wanted to feel like Tyler’s Dad and his agent were too over the top, but at the same time I could see parents who behave in that manner.  I guess I just didn’t want to believe anyone could be that selfish and horrible to their child.

I really appreciated how Tyler’s more promiscuous past was dealt with too — it wasn’t all black and white either.  I mean, it’s a really strange life that they live.  And I appreciated all the different conversations (between Tyler and Karen, and between Karen and Natalie) that happened about “sluts” and “puck bunnies” and what’s acceptable, and if there are double standards and all that.  There weren’t clear resolutions necessarily, but more like just a topic that deserves more thought and not to be taken lightly.  Part of me was a little bit disappointed in the fast advancement in Tyler and Karen’s sexual relationship, but part of me felt like that was kind of realistic too…it wasn’t all clean cut and perfect.

So yeah.  Definitely going to watch for more books in this series.  I really appreciated how many different topics Ms. Cameron chose to address, or at least mention.  It definitely worked for me, and gave me something different to think about than the usual YA struggles.

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Playing Defense by Cate Cameron

Synopsis:
25447694Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, swoon-worthy kisses, and sexy hockey players. It may cause you to watch a hockey game…or ten.

Sixteen-year-old Claudia Waring has never kissed a boy. Never been popular. Never been to a hockey game. All that’s about to change. Assigned to tutor Chris Winslow, a prank-loving, gorgeous hockey player, Claudia’s perfectly planned life immediately veers off course. And she kind of likes it. But as fun as Chris is, she knows she’ll never fit in his world.

After his latest prank lands him in hot water, Chris has to get serious about school or lose hockey. Not an easy thing for someone as carefree as the defenseman. The biggest problem, though, is how much he wants to help his cute, buttoned-up tutor loosen up a little. But while confidence has never been a problem for him, around Claudia, Chris is all nerves. Why would a girl as smart as her ever fall for a jock like him?

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My Review:
4 stars — I received a copy of this book through NetGalley!

This was a quintessential YA book….it wasn’t just a romance, it had a lot of exploring the growth of both characters in it as well.  And I actually really enjoyed the kind of blunt look it took on the issues that might face some teens, and that the environment in the high school wasn’t so stereotypical and over the top.  There were social circles, but it wasn’t all Mean Girls all the time…I appreciated that Claudia wasn’t horribly teased and ridiculed, but more like ignored I guess.  And while there were mentions of parties after the hockey games, they weren’t some lavish affairs like we see in so many teen movies.

I also appreciated the way the characters talked about sex — it felt reasonable and realistic.  It wasn’t a topic that was avoided, but it wasn’t the whole focus either if that makes sense.  Chris wasn’t some manwhore, but he also wasn’t a virginal saint.  His views were reasonable for a teenage boy — definitely a fan, but not to the exclusion of all else.  I’m not sure I’m making any sense, I just read the part where they were discussing it and I was impressed that it didn’t fall into the usual tropes.

I really liked both Claudia and Chris.  They each had their challenges to go through (and not just the ones from the sisterhood).  I felt like these could be real kids in high school…Claudia dealing with the pressure of high achieving academics and Chris dealing with his own sense of worth and fear of failure.  And I liked how they were with each other.  You could really feel what was drawing them together, even if they didn’t have a lot in common.

I think my favourite part was the sisterhood of awesomeness.  I didn’t expect all these other secondary characters to play such a role, but I enjoyed the discoveries they were making with each other, and watching them try to grow and become more than they were.

I was a bit dismayed with Claudia’s mother.  She was honestly horrific.  She was so prejudiced, and narrowly focused on what *she* wanted for Claudia’s life.  I kind of would have liked to see Claudia stand up to her a bit more and for her mother to at least see some of Claudia’s side, but I guess it’s kind of realistic that she may not…it’s a more realistic outcome, but in that case I was hoping for a more storybook resolution, kwim?

This book had me laughing, crying, and feeling all the feels (from dismay to hope).  And I didn’t even realize it was a Canadian author or would be set in Canada before I started reading, so that was a bit of a bonus to me.  Will definitely be checking out the first book in this series to read about Tyler and Karen’s story.

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How I Fly by Anne Eliot

I’m actually reading this book in the 2 book bundle available from amazon here: http://amzn.to/1QF2zyP
(it’s the same price as each book individually, so it’s a good deal!)

Synopsis:
24253369*WHAT IF IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON…?*
Over six months after an accident that broke her legs as well as removed her boyfriend from her life—because Cam Campbell left town and dumped her—high school senior, Ellen Foster, wants to move past her broken heart. She’s off to attend a summer photography workshop at a real university along with her best friends. Ellen’s determined to find a new love—or at least a summer boyfriend. In the dorm, she meets Harrison Shaw. He’s a handsome photography student, a charmer who likes her, and a perfect way to forget her past.

*WHAT IF IT ALL GOES PERFECTLY…?*
Ellen thinks she has everything she wants. Her summer program couldn’t be better. She’s half in love with Harrison Shaw, and she’s going after her next scholarship. But when she kisses Harrison, she can only remember how Cam Campbell used kiss her better, sweeter, and how he used to make her feel like she could fly…

*WHAT IF SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT…?*
When Cam shows up at the university it’s a shock, especially to Ellen’s new boyfriend. Cam’s distant, different and very afraid to hurt Ellen again. He asks Ellen if they could be friends despite the past and how they’ve both changed and Ellen agrees. But after all they’ve been through, can Cam and Ellen ever be just friends?

*WHAT IF…?*

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My Review:
3 stars — I’m unsure how I feel after finishing the story.  After rereading the first book, I could already tell I was in a different mood than the first time I read it, and so I’m sure that affected my enjoyment of finally finishing the series…but in the end, I guess I was a bit disappointed.  I think I just had lower tolerance for the drama found in these books, and they just felt really unrealistic so much of the time that it took away from my enjoyment.

I knew from the ending of the first book that things were not going to go all smoothly for our star-crossed lovers.  But I guess I didn’t expect them to spend so much of this book apart.  And since I love me a romance, I was disappointed in the lack of that in this book.

Honestly, I think most of my disappointed feelings can be summed up in Harrison Shaw.  (And here’s where the review could get a bit spoilery, so please skip the rest if you haven’t read the book).  I was leery of Mr. Shaw right from the first moment of meeting, and actually pretty much called his role in this book from close to the beginning.  So watching it all unfold wasn’t that fun for me.  I mean, I really liked Ellen and Cam, so to watch them (mostly Ellen) succumb to yet another super villain just wasn’t what I was looking for.  I guess I would have preferred more real life adversity instead if that makes any sense.  But I suppose that wouldn’t have made for quite as much of a book.  It just felt very overdramatic and unrealistic to me and so I didn’t enjoy any of the climax at all.

And quite honestly, I KNOW that Ellen was trying to get over Cam, but I just couldn’t understand how she could be so naive about Harrison.  And knowing how important her photography was to her, I guess I was just surprised that she was so easily sucked into Harrison’s machinations.  I try to remind myself that she is just a teenager, only *just barely* a senior in high school, and so I should give her a little slack.  But I just wanted her to figure it out on her own or something I guess.

In the end the part I found most interesting in this book was finding out what had happened to Cam in the 6 months between the first book and this one.  But that was really only a small part of the story.  And in general I enjoyed Cam’s POV more in this book than Ellen’s POV.

So yeah.  Disappointed with this conclusion.  Would have also liked a bit more on the epilogue and resolution with Ellen and Cam, and especially with Laura and Patrick.  Laura’s crazy antics actually annoyed me a bit more this time around too, so maybe I really am just in a mood.  😦  I hate it when I’m in a mood, I prefer to just blindly like things.  😉

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How I Fall by Anne Eliot

Got this and the next book in a 2 book bundle, so finally going back and finishing this series.  So had to reread this one again — thus includes my original review as well as a reread note.

Synopsis:
22494015*WHAT IF YOU HAD AN IMPOSSIBLE CRUSH?*
Impossible because she’s Ellen Foster. The beautiful, smart, and possibly fragile photography-girl. You’re Cam Campbell. The guy who plays football 24/7 with no life. But what if during junior year, you decide to finally try for her phone number—until this glitter-crazed new girl ruins your plan. Worse, the girl is Irish, awkward, and insists you and Ellen should become best friends—with her! Only, you don’t want to be friends with a human tornado, and you think Ellen might need to stay a crush. This is because after one interaction you’ve discovered Ellen Foster really is fragile. Your problems and secrets are too big for anyone to understand.

*WHAT IF YOU COULDN’T RESIST?*
But what if the three of you wind up assigned to a group photography project, where rumors are already circling about the new girl being ridiculous? You know she’s nice but very alone, so you convince your crush to help protect the new girl. Suddenly, working on the project makes hanging out, texting, talking—and even high school—seem fun and completely normal when it’s anything but normal.

*WHAT IF YOU KISS*
What if you kiss Ellen Foster and it’s perfect enough to make you believe in things you shouldn’t. You tell her secrets and share your dreams. You make the kinds of promises and create plans to be together that might be impossible to keep when you’re only sixteen and your parents control your entire future,
but…

*WHAT IF YOU HURT HER…*

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My Review:
ON REREAD: Probably would round down to 4 instead of up to 5.  The things I noted in the review below bothered me a bit more this time around.  But I’m going to leave it on here b/c I could be just in a mood.

4.5 stars — this book had me mega grinning from practically the first page.  Honestly, there was so much to love about the characters, and it was just one of those sweet ya romances….well, that is until they ran into conflict and my heart was ripped out when I discovered this was actually a 2 book series!!!  Seriously, how did I not know that??

REALLY had a hard time deciding whether to round up or down on this one.  The parts that I LOVED had this book at a 5++++.  But there were a few little things that bugged me, and one of those was the naivety of Cam.  I really disliked how blinded he was to his parents….well, sometimes I felt like he totally saw them for the snobs and jerks they were, but then he’d be like “don’t worry, when I explain it will all be good.”  I just don’t get where that came from?  It was the same with his friends.  Was he really that oblivious to how Ellen was treated?  But then I think, maybe it’s b/c he was only 16 and truly just thought that good would prevail and all that.  So yeah, not sure how I ended up feeling on that in the end.  I mean, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cam.  Seriously, LOVE that boy.  And he and Ellen together were so sweet and just OMG <3’s everywhere awesomeness.  So maybe that’s why I was disappointed in him?

Regardless of that little niggle, I LOVED the characters.  I am chagrined to say that when I read the synopsis, I somehow got it into my head that Laura was either younger, or had perhaps a developmental handicap.  Honestly, I HAVE NO IDEA where I got that from.  Going back and rereading it doesn’t enlighten me, so feel free to laugh your butts off.  Seriously.  Laura was hilarious.  She was such a nice addition to the cast, along with Patrick.  So it wasn’t just a romance developing, but an expansion of both Ellen *and* Cam’s friend group.  Loved the dynamics between the 4 of them.

Some of the bits in the climax bordered on unbelievable, but it didn’t bother me as much as it has in previous books by Ms. Eliot.

And on a weird side note, as a Western Canadian, and HUGE CFL (Canadian Football League) fan, I found the football notes irksome on occasion….but that’s a TOTAL personal thing.  Honestly, I’m from Saskatchewan, and it’s like a religion over there.  So to see the CFL sort of relegated to lameness or second best rose my hackles.  😉  But since Timmie’s was appropriately worshipped in the book, I will forgive the American author.  Besides, maybe it’s different over in Ontario, especially closer to the border like the town was.

And now that I got rid of that silly aside, I will just say that it is BY FAR my favourite Anne Eliot book.  Seriously, most of it had me grinning and laughing and just happy so much my cheeks hurt.  Now I will have to impatiently wait alongside the rest of the fans for the conclusion.  *leg starts tapping uncontrollably*  HURRY!!!

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Join Up by Tudor Robins

Synopsis:
26889950A summer at one of the poshest riding camps in the province. A hundred horses. Rolling hills ribboned with hacking trails and cross-country jumps.

It could be perfect. Unless you’re Lacey Strickland, and you’re leaving Salem, Meg, and Jared behind on the island.

The only thing that isn’t hard to leave is Lacey’s memory of her first kiss, delivered in a spring-scented hayfield, which sizzled, then fizzled into nothing at all.

The other thing making camp less-than-perfect for Lacey? She’s not a cosseted camper, but a staff member – teaching riding lessons from sun-up to sun-down.

In Meg’s first letter to Lacey, she writes: “I bet anything there’s at least one amazing horse waiting for you there. And maybe a new great – if not best – friend.”

Is Meg right? Could Lacey meet a horse she’ll love just as much as Salem? And are there new friends in her future? Maybe even somebody who could give her more than just one kiss in a hayfield?

Find it on Goodreads.
Order it on Amazon.

My Review:
3.5 stars!  I received an copy of this ebook from the author in exchange for my honest review!

I honestly didn’t initially realize that this wasn’t going to be a continuation of Meg’s story, but since I felt like her story was complete, I was happy to see that we have a new heroine — Lacey!  She was so bubbly and forthright, I was interested to see how it would be to read from her perspective…and in general I thought the author did a great job of being faithful to the Lacey we’d come to know, just grown up.

I’m not a horsey person, but I felt like I could want to be a horsey person after reading these books.  They really give you such a sense of how important these creatures are in some people’s lives….  LOVED watching Lacey get to know Night.  Enjoyed the little bits of horsey knowledge that was passed along in little places here and there…not so much to overwhelm someone from outside that world, but enough to give a sense of place and time if that makes sense.

I thought the romance was blended in nicely with the rest of the story.  It’s really such a minor role — it’s more Lacey’s coming of age tale.  Dealing with the aftermath of a first kiss, learning to be a leader and teacher….  But I did really like Fitch and the way they bantered back and forth.

I do wish the book had been a bit more something…either more romance, or more coming of age struggles for Lacey.  I don’t know, I just wanted something a bit more.

I also felt like the ending kind of snuck up on me — not that it didn’t work, but just that I turned to a new chapter and all of a sudden it was the ending.  Might have been nicer to say “3 weeks later” or to label it as an epilogue.  Just something.

All in all this was a great addition to the Island Trilogy.  I’ll miss the girls and their horses…

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Wednesday Riders by Tudor Robins

Another throwback review!!  Loving rereading these stories — they are everything I love about a great YA story, all the trials and tribulations and growing up.

Synopsis:
24968475The island.

Meg can’t wait to get back. She’s excited to see her new mare kick up her heels in Salem’s old paddock. She’s impatient to run on country roads between breeze-blown hayfields.

Mostly, Meg longs to be back with Jared again.

It’s going to be the perfect summer.

But can real life live up to Meg’s huge expectations?

When Jared makes a heart-wrenching confession, Meg has to re-evaluate everything. If perfection’s not possible, can Meg find a way to build happiness for herself?

Fans of Appaloosa Summer will welcome the return to familiar places and characters, with the chance to be captivated by more of the beauty, romance, and dreaminess of Meg’s summer island life.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24968475-wednesday-riders
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/22wHK1i

My Review:
4.5 stars — I was lucky enough to receive an ecopy of this book from the author!!

This was a SOLID followup to the first book — both books felt very much like coming-of-age tales, but this one was NOT a repeat of the first book. This was Meg growing even more, struggling with new and different challenges. From the synopsis, I knew this was going to be a hard book to take, and I wasn’t disappointed. Ms. Robins gives us heartbreak, but it’s so real and multi-dimensional and takes us through the ringer with Meg. I’m finding it extremely difficult to write this review without spoilers….and still say something meaningful. I guess I just really liked that the characters aren’t perfect, and they don’t always behave the best, and that things actually take time to resolve and accept and move on from.

I enjoyed the development of her relationship with her mother as a result — I always found it intriguing reading about their not-overly-affectionate relationship (since that’s kind of foreign to me), so it was nice to see them grow but stay true to their own characters at the same time.

The side plot with the girls and the musical ride was a nice relief from Meg’s troubles…. I kept thinking it would be too much to draw me away from Meg’s story, but she ends up learning and growing through her relationship with the girls as well.

I have NO IDEA where the 3rd book is going to go, I just hope for slightly less heartbreak. I will be watching for the last book though! It’s been fun watching Meg grow….

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Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins

A bit of a throwback review — I’ve started rereading these books in preparation for the last book in this trilogy, so thought I’d post my old reviews on the bloggy blog as I finish reading each book!

Synopsis:
22674837Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring.

Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident.

Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B.

Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing.

When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by summer’s end.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22674837-appaloosa-summer
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QSUf3G

My Review:
4.5 stars — OK, this was just all kinds of YA goodness. Oh crap — I was provided with a copy of this book through netgalley, and here is my honest review!!!

OK, now that that’s out of the way….I will admit, being a Canadian, reading a Canadian author, with a book set in Canada, with a few little Canadian quirks….might have made me a very happy camper. They weren’t overt or all over the place, but it is kind of cool to see colour spelled with a u (it might have been favourite….it was one of those words), Tim Horton’s mentioned, and heck I used to live in Ottawa, so it was like revisiting a magical place! What does this have to do with the book? NOTHING! I just wanted to gush. Now onto relevance….

Coming from the perspective of someone that knows NOTHING about horses and showing and all that stuff, I felt like it was explained really well and didn’t get so technical that I was lost…. Course that also means I can’t vouch for the authenticity, but it worked wonders for me! It had such a heartbreaking start, and I was really wondering how I was going to feel about Meg b/c she seemed so self-contained and a bit separate from her parents. But I really ended up loving Meg…and maybe that’s b/c I got to see her have a summer in her element, embracing who she is and what she loves and learning more about herself.

I LOVED Jared….he was just sweet, and a bit sassy (in a guy way), with his own bit of heartbreak to tell. And the romance in this book was just so sweet and innocent and BEAUTIFUL. LOVED it.

So yeah, it made me feel things, it made me happy, and even though it seems to be a part of a new series, I felt closure at the end of the book. I don’t know if the next book will be about Meg (and Jared), but I would love to see more of their story if it’s told!! Will definitely be watching out for this author in the future.

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How Forever Feels by Laura Drewry

Synopsis:
25238945From USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry comes a warm and witty new Friends First novel—perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery. How Forever Feels is a sweet tale about the one that got away . . . and the one that came back.

Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.

Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25238945-how-forever-feels
Preorder it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hpbh9q

My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a copy of this ebook through netgalley!!!

All in all a great conclusion to this series.  I ended up loving the first half of the book more than the last half, but that could be because I read it over a longer period of time when I only had snatches of moments to actually fit in some reading…so I wasn’t able to stay absorbed in the story as I usually would have.

Jack was all that and a bag of chips…  So sweet and adorable, with such a heartbreaking past.  I LOVED how much he adored Maya, and how shy and sort of bumbly he could be.  When they’re first reunited I totally felt all of their friend chemistry and how it could turn into more.

I had a bit of a harder time getting a read on Maya…but I think that might have been partially me.  I loved her snort laughs and basically all the things that Jack saw in her, but…I don’t know.  She just didn’t leave as big an impression as I was expecting.

In the end the loss of a star and a half was due to little things adding up.  I wasn’t all that taken with the Griffin sideplot…it just didn’t feel necessary to the story.  The sexual chemistry was only so so for me.  And it was just really hard to understand why Jack was best friends with Will after all the horrible things Will did.  I get his loyalty to the family, but I don’t get the best friends thing with Will….we were mostly TOLD that the chemistry still existed there, but weren’t really shown it, if that makes sense.

As with all the stories in this series, the cast of secondary characters was phenomenal….  It was AWESOME to see all the established couples back and hanging out — Jack fit right in with all of them.  And the girls nights and just altogether great girl friendships were exactly what I wanted to read — they’re such different characters, but they fit so well together and really offer each other support.  And of course there was sweetie Petey…I’m a dog lover, so he was always a welcome addition.

As a Canadian, can I just say how much total fun it was to read a series set in my country?  To recognize little things here and there?  It’s not like it made much difference in the storyline, but it’s the little things that make this Canadian happy….;)

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