Remember When | T. Torrest

Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

In case you live under a rock and don’t know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

And not just to casting directors, either.

I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept.

I should know. I was one of them.

And my life hasn’t been the same since.

Expect a review by the end of the day tomorrow!  I had a lot of fun reading this one.

I received a free copy of The Abyss Beyond Dreams from Netgalley, so I’m catching up on the books that come before it before delving in.  The Void series begins with The Dreaming Void:

The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself.

At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations. The Void has existed for untold millions of years. Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin, its makers, or its purpose.

But then Inigo, an astrophysicist studying the Void, begins dreaming of human beings who live within it. Inigo’s dreams reveal a world in which thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise. Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, Inigo’s dreams are shared by hundreds of millions–and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet. But then he vanishes.

Suddenly there is a new wave of dreams. Dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serve as the inspiration for a massive Pilgrimage into the Void. But there is a chance that by attempting to enter the Void, the pilgrims will trigger a catastrophic expansion, an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds. 

And thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and the mysterious Second Dreamer. Some seek to prevent the Pilgrimage; others to speed its progress–while within the Void, a supreme entity has turned its gaze, for the first time, outward…

Since there’s a good 2000 pages or so of the Void series, it will probably be awhile before I post my review of The Abyss Beyond Dreams, but I’m looking forward to getting there.

Does this series sound interesting to you?  The Abyss Beyond Dreams is currently available on Netgalley and Goodreads First Reads!

Goodreads | Amazon

Right Kind of Wrong is the second book by Chelsea Fine that I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year, and she does not disappoint.

While Right Kind of Wrong is the third book in a series, it is more or less able to be read independently of the others. The couples from books one and two are featured, but very minimally – mostly just being cute as their newly-coupled selves. I read Best Kind of Broken earlier this year, but somehow missed Perfect Kind of Trouble. I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything major by skipping the second book.

In Right Kind of Wrong, we follow Jenna, who was featured in the first book as Pixie’s best friend and roommate. I liked Jenna a lot in the first book. She was really strong, spunky, and independent, and wouldn’t let Pixie put up with anything less than the best. In Right Kind of Wrong, she still has all of those qualities, but she’s also extraordinarily stubborn. She has a life plan, and a man does not fit into it. She needs to be in absolute control at all times, and surrendering her heart to anybody is not going to fly. She fights her attraction to – and feelings for – Jack until the very end of the book, which I found extremely frustrating. I had to lower my rating based on the amount of angst alone – when it’s obvious that two people care for each other, why have them battle their feelings for 300 pages before they finally get together? Especially when they know that the other feels the same way!

I did like Jack’s storyline, surprisingly enough. I was actually pretty surprised about his background; I’d made a few guesses, but that was not one of them. His family was great, and I enjoyed how he and his mom teased each other. Jenna’s family was a nice touch too, especially her grandmother.

All in all, Right Kind of Wrong is a really strong NA novel that I’m sure most NA fans would enjoy.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.

Final rating: 

Goodreads | Amazon

In Scratch, Casey is a college senior with a traumatic past. To escape the nightmares and memories, she turns to music, and passes many nights DJing at a local club. When she’s not DJing, she’s locked in her room, studying alone, afraid to let people in – that is, until Daniel from her philosophy class starts chipping away at the walls she’s built up.

The award for least relatable heroine goes to Casey. I could not stand this girl throughout the book. Why must everything be an argument with her? Daniel kisses her. She runs away. Daniel takes her on a date. She throws a fit. Daniel tries to help her get past the events of her childhood. She all but breaks up with him. Daniel tries to tell her that he’s sick of fighting and just wants to make her happy, and she throws her tortured past in his face. 

Casey is perfectly happy going somewhere with Daniel after class, perfectly comfortable talking to him at a party, but her danger bells go off when he offers to take her out at night. Casey’s danger alarm goes off constantly. I think her favorite word is “dangerous.” As in, “This was dangerous, to let myself even be this close to him.” Everything is dangerous to Casey, not because there’s actually a sense of danger, but because she may develop feelings for someone, and we can’t have that.

Casey is also an idiot. She refuses to discuss her music with anyone, or tell anyone that she makes her own songs. Yet, somehow, of course, she’s able to tell Daniel. She says, “I couldn’t believe I was talking so openly about music with him. But I got the feeling that he would understand.”

Casey, sweetie, 99% of people would understand. Music is this universal thing. Most people like it. Most people would think it’s cool that you’re creating your own songs. Have you never spoken to a human before?

It was exhausting to read about this girl.

Add to that the fact that these girls talked like they’re from the late 90’s:

“You look like you’re about to devour someone,” I replied drolly.
She giggled. “Oh yes! I totally am. Ta-ta for now!”
 

I have not heard anyone say “ta-ta for now” since I was in elementary school. This is supposed to be a contemporary novel. The girls have cell phones and discuss Facebook, yet they talk and dress like they’re out of the 90’s.

Actually, the whole book is rather poorly written. It’s hard to write a believable story in the first person, especially when it’s a romance like this. Characters describing the things that are happening to them is just uncomfortable – I much prefer third person. Some examples of the awkward writing:

My core tightened; my belly fluttered. 
The thumb on his right hand brushed against my thigh then moved up my leg, to the crease between my thigh and torso. 

Ugh. So unattractive.

The premise of the book was good, but the writing was very formulaic (I could almost predict each conflict, what it would be, and where in the book it would occur), it was much too angsty, and very poorly executed. Typically, the books I receive from Netgalley are uncorrected proofs. There’s no indication either way about whether this is an uncorrected or final copy. I hope that it’s uncorrected and that an editor will be able to go in and polish the awkward writing, at least. In the end, I give Scratch 1.5/5 stars, rounded up to 2.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.

Final rating: 

Goodreads | Amazon

In Draw Me In, we’re sucked into the world of Hailey Jakes, an art students whose parents have decided to use her college fund to pay for their nasty divorce, and Neill Vanderhaven, a tattoo artist whose last relationship destroyed his ability to trust women.

When Hailey gets the call from her father saying that she needs to drop out because her college fund has been depleted, she decides she’s not going down without a fight. She takes to the streets, stopping in every restaurant and shop she comes across until she finds someone looking for help. The one place that’s hiring is Sinful Skin, the tattoo shop that Neill owns. Hailey and Neill are immediately attracted to each other, but for the sake of their jobs, they need to keep it professional. Add to that the news of Hailey’s parents’ divorce and Neill’s rocky history with women, and you get two people trying their hardest to avoid a relationship.

The premise of Draw Me In is fine; it’s the execution that could use some work.

The first thing that threw me off was the sheer angst running through each of Hailey and Neill’s interactions. Yes, Hailey’s parents are going through a divorce. My parents are divorced too, but that doesn’t mean that I feel like I’m somehow incapable of loving anyone. It just means that my parents weren’t right for each other. I thought that Hailey was going to have some deep, dark secret in her past that made her afraid to get close to someone. I couldn’t believe it was just because her parents were getting divorced. And Neill – I’m sorry, but I just didn’t understand what Gretchen had to do with anything. I don’t think that she was developed enough as a character to play the huge role that she did in Neill’s life. So she stole some money from him and took some drugs. You know, that’s not cool and obviously it’s good that he doesn’t trust her anymore, but to not be able to trust anybody is taking it a little far. When Neill revealed what had gone down with Gretchen, I was actually a little disappointed. After all it had been built up to be, the truth was kind of a letdown. I’ve been reading a lot of angsty romances lately, and these characters had some of the worst reasons for trust issues that I’ve seen so far.

Of course, the angst between Hailey and Neill doesn’t stop once they finally begin dating. No. Why would it?

Onto the hot mess that was her adviser, Dr. Fields. I mean, first off, why is a psych professor her art adviser? I don’t know how it works at other schools, my adviser was a professor in my major. How can somebody advise on a major they don’t know? Anyway, from the first mention of him, it’s clear that Dr. Fields is going to be a problem.

Draw Me In started out well enough, but the writing was too choppy and the pacing was off. I think that the story is good, and with some extensive editing, it would have been much better. It read like the author felt rushed while writing it and forgot to go back and check things like continuity and pacing. Despite all that, I did enjoy the story for what it was, and it is a very quick read. It would be the perfect book to read at the beach or on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.

Final rating: 

Please note: Spoilers have been removed.  Click through to Goodreads to read my full review.