Book review: Tattoo Thief by Heidi Joy Tretheway

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I first added this book to my TBR in October 2013. Well, in September 2016, I finally read it. Better late than never, I guess.

(I’m not sure why I waited so long.)

First off, I thought this book had a really great concept. Beryl is a twenty-something who’s kind of stuck in her small town life after finishing college. A family friend who works in New York City offers her a job at his company, and she can’t help but accept. Unfortunate circumstances with a friend leave her homeless at the same time one of her new clients needs a housesitter, so it’s a no-brainer for her to just temporarily move into the client’s home.

The client is a world-famous rock star that has mysteriously skipped town. Gavin left his house, his dog, and the rest of his band without so much as a second thought. After cleaning up his home, Beryl gets to work cleaning up his life. Soon, Beryl and the mysterious Gavin are emailing back and forth. They seem to have great chemistry, but maybe it’s all in Beryl’s head?

I was really pleasantly surprised with this book. Tretheway did a great job making Gavin a stereotypical rock star on the surface, but so much more underneath. His character could have easily been an over-the-top, pompous jerk, but there turned out to be so much more than meets the eye. My heart really broke for him once I found out the motivation for his sudden disappearance.

The only complaint I have about this book is that I wish Beryl would have just gotten rid of the wardrobe of clothes when Gavin asked her to. That whole thing freaked me out. (About 80% of my Kindle highlights are crazy emojis every time she referenced those clothes.) I was really surprised that they weren’t a bigger deal in the end.

I really loved Gavin’s bandmates, though, and I’m adding the rest of this series to my TBR. I can’t wait to see what happens with Tyler and Stella in book two.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

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Book review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Alright, so it’s time for me to work out my feelings about this book.

I had been looking forward to this book for a good year and a half when I finally found it at my library. This is one of those books that elicits pretty strong reactions from people, and I’m not gonna lie, those are the kind of books that I have to read.

But I was a little skeptical. Because… come on.

The similarities to Red Rising are just uncanny. And I adored Red Rising. It was one of my top reads of 2014. There’s the fact that this is about a girl named Mare Barrow when RR is about a boy named Darrow. Then there’s the fact that Mare and Darrow are both Reds, low social classes who live to serve Silvers/Golds. Don’t forget that Darrow disguises himself as a Gold to bring about revolution while Mare is disguised as a Silver to prevent revolution. It’s just a little too much for me.

So, my expectations weren’t high. I thought, hey, at best it’s going to be a different version of a book I loved. Worse case scenario, I lose a few hours of my life reading what’s sure to be at least okay.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but compare it with other books. The similarities to RR don’t end with the names and the colors. But, I mean, the Queenstrial? Basically just the entirety of The Selection condensed into a few pages with some special effects thrown in. The prince’s sudden attachment to a random common girl? Flashbacks to Cinder. The bit where they’re riding around some supposedly desolate land? All I could think was District 13 from The Hunger Games. And don’t get me started on how Mare being a Red with Silver characteristics is just another version of Divergent.

Then there’s the typical YA trope of literally every male within Mare’s age group falling for her. She has not just one, not even two, but THREE love interests over the course of 383 pages. The boys fall over themselves to gain her favor, which normally would be enough to put me off, but the fact that two of them are brothers just freaks me out. Just… don’t mess with brothers, ok? In no universe will that end well.

So, to say that I was disappointed by the first 80% of this book would be an understatement. I was expecting it to surpass my very low expectations, and it didn’t. But then we got to the climax. And it takes a lot to surprise me these days, but I was surprised. I mean, maybe I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t, and holy cow. How quickly can I get my hands on Glass Sword?!

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

Book review: My Best Friend’s Brother by Hazel Kelly

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Earlier this year, I read (and really enjoyed) this first book in Hazel Kelly’s Roommates series. I was in a bit of a reading slump – far too many ARCs in a row, and I should know better than to do that to myself by now – so I picked up what sounded like a light, fluffy, cute romance. If there’s one romance trope I never get sick of, it’s friends to lovers. And that’s what we’ve got here.

Sure, it’s called My Best Friend’s Brother, but Shane is just as much Andi’s friend as his sister Izzy is. The three grew up together and were always close, but Shane and Andi drifted apart as she started dating some questionable guys. But after a run-in with an abusive boyfriend, Andi can’t think of a better (or safer) place to go than Shane’s house, and soon Shane’s wondering why he’s always stood back and watched Andi date these awful guys when he should have stepped in to protect her.

Feelings that have been kept secret for years come to the forefront as Shane helps Andi get out of her horrible relationship and start rebuilding her confidence. What follows is, in my opinion, a really cute story of two friends finding their way back to each other and accepting that they’ve always felt a bit more than friendly.

The book really focuses primarily on Shane and Andi, but I loved some of the secondary characters. Andi’s roommate, Stephanie, was a great addition to the book. And although Izzy didn’t play a huge role in the story, I liked that she was a fully developed character who really seemed to have Shane and Andi’s best interests in mind.

I loved the dialogue, especially between Shane and Andi, and I thought that overall, the writing was just really snappy and clever. I am really coming to enjoy Hazel Kelly’s books, and I will certainly be looking out for number three in this series!

Final rating: ★★★★☆