It’s time for the Monday Roundup and yes, smarty pants, I know it’s Tuesday

Happy Faux Monday, everybody! I know, I know. It’s actually Tuesday and I really should have done the roundup yesterday but I have a big secret for you: I miss Ellen. I mean, I really, really miss her. When she’s not around, I have no will power and will spend all evening eating bonbons and reading Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout instead of actually being productive and updating the blog (golden bodied Seth calls to my baser instincts and for that there’s no excuse except for the fact that I’m female.) When Ellen’s around, I will churn out 2+ reviews a week which is rather ambitious for a working gal such as myself but let’s face it, right now we’re lucky if I can get anything written. I’ve got the Ellen withdrawal and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

This week was fabulous though! There’s so much going on: contests, reviews, cover reveals, guest bloggers…it’s got it all.

Now what I’m most excited about is this: a FREAKING BIG CONTEST WITH AWESOME SWAG! We’re giving away a Kindle Fire (yes, you read that right) to one lucky aspiring writer who tells us all about his/her dream wedding in 1000 words are less.  Get cracking, all you authors out there!

One of my most favorite YA authors, Tammara Webber, revealed her latest book premise and cover on our site. Easy will be a standalone novel following Jacqueline to college as she is forced to decide between her high school boyfriend, crazy stalker, college tutor, and sexy classmate Lucas.   Swoon! Plus look at this hot cover. Yum, I like me a good wrist:

Reviews:

Secret Vampire by LJ Smith: Terminally ill Poppy is given the surprise of her life when best friend, James, reveals he’s actually a vampire and changes her into one too in order to save her life.  10/10 READ THIS NOW.

Almost by Anne Eliot: Jess is still living with the repercussions of an attempted rape 3 years ago and in order to placate her parents she hires Gray to play her boyfriend to get her overprotective parents off her back. 9/10

Guest Blogger:

Meet Richelle, everybody! Doesn’t she seem so fun and down to earth? Look at those glasses! I’m a big fan. Approved, Richelle! Approved.

And last but not least, my Reading List:

1.  Running Wide Open by Lisa Nowak: I’m really loving this one! It’s so refreshing to have a male protagonist and no lovey dovey crap. I’m almost done with this and think the review should be up soon.

2.  A Strange Fire by LH Cosway: This is one of the books that an author approached me about reviewing. I love being thought of as some serious reviewer so I must admit that I gave an adament, “yes!” when asked to read it.  I might not have checked out the blurb about it yet but am really digging that cover. It reminds me a lot of John Green’s Looking for Alaska cover but hopefully there will be a lot less tears.

3. The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle: Hello naked cover! I love covers with half-naked men on them, granted this “man” appears a little more pubescent than man. Frankly I prefer a beefcake but beggars can’t be choosers, here. Irish myth and a lot of skin? Sign me up! Not the biggest fan of prose written in accent though…we’ll see how it goes.

4. Fix by Leslie Margolis: Who can say no to teens and plastic surgery? This is fascinating stuff and I can’t wait to read this one.

Now I am off to drool more over Seth and hate on Aiden in Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout. Seriously, what’s Alex’s problem?! If Seth were sniffing around me and wanted someone to abuse him thoroughly, I would sooooo be on board with that. Just sayin’.

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If I Can’t Have You by Lauren Hammond

If I Can’t Have You by Lauren Hammond

Publisher: S.B. Addison Books (January 31, 2012)

Format: Kindle Edition

My internal monologue as I get ready to write this review: Gah! What was I thinking?! That cover alone should have warned me to stay far, far away from this book and yet I didn’t listen to what was right in front of me.  Oh no, I bought this and now have only myself to blame because it really is as bad as the cover suggests.  Seriously though, what’s wrong with her arms? Am I the only reader who’s noticed that? Maybe I really am the only reader and that accounts for the fact that no one noticed she has Gumby arms! Sigh. Why do I do this to myself? At least the guy pawing at Gumby has a passably good body…and what is that they’re lying in? An ocean of rocks? Isn’t this set at the beach? Where’s all the water?

Plot:

Robin Mason has been infatuated with lifeguard, Drake Robertson, since he saved her from drowning when she was 15.  Now that’s she’s off to college, she thinks this summer is the one where he will truly notice her. She and best friend, Whitney, make it their goal to ensnare the gorgeous Drake and when Robin does so almost immediately, she begins envisioning a picture-perfect relationship with him. But Drake has no desire to be attached and breaks Robin’s heart when she catches him rolling around in the bushes buck naked with her neighbor.  Her heart wounded, Robin attempts to pick up the pieces while Drake’s younger brother, Elliott, attempts to woo her.  At first she can’t see past Drake’s deception but eventually gives in to Elliott and realizes that maybe picking the wrong brother is all that she needed to find the right one.

Review:

For the love of all that is good and sweet, first that cover and now the book itself.  I promised myself since the last smaltzy love story I read that I would take a break. But of course I can’t resist a good romance and now, I’m paying for it. I don’t mean to be overly harsh but this book is just a big old mess. All of the relationships happen far too quickly and seem to be based on absolutely nothing. First Drake, a hot guy who has never shown Robin the slightest romantic interest, falls all over himself to be with her, then breaks her heart by fooling around with her neighbor, and then swings back around to attempt to win her back. Robin’s feelings for Drake are so flimsy yet all consuming that it just feels fake. Then there’s his equally gorgeous brother, Elliott, who claims he took one look at her (after bonking her in the head with a door no less) and knew she was the one for him. As in the one for him in a future that ends in marriage.  At 18 years old.  Now I have no qualms with love at first sight but I find it very hard to stomach an 18 year old boy claiming that he saw one shy girl and wanting her desperately for the rest of his life.  The speed of his confession and his pointed interested just feels completely forced and unreal. Likewise Robin’s reaction to both boys is wholly out of proportion to the length of time she spends with them. She seems almost manic and utterly dependent on their feelings. If she’s not deliriously happy basking in the glow of their gorgeous faces and bodies, she’s crying, sobbing, or running away from their confessions of love for her.  It’s Neediness 101 and Robin Mason deserves an A for all that effort. At its heart, there’s really not much substance to If I Can’t Have You.  It’s one girl stuck between two boys who seem to want her without knowing why.  It’s all pretty innocuous until the very end when it seems the author decided that her characters were better suited to erotica than YA fiction and all sort of sexy times come out of the woodwork.  But even those were peppered with neediness and tears and frankly they stopped being sexy right away. The premise of this book is great but the execution is sadly lacking. Add to it banal writing and poorly written sequences and you just have a mish mash that is quite dull.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 2. Robin was so whiny and so utterly dependent on whether Drake or Elliott loved her that I just disliked her immediately. Any girl that places all of her emotional eggs in one basket has deep seated issues and I didn’t really want to watch her fragile ego be destroyed by not one but two gorgeous love interests who happen to be related. Double ick btw.

How much did I like the love interest: Wait, wait. Is it Drake or is it Elliott? We don’t find out until about halfway through that Drake is a cad and by that time Elliott seems like such a prince in comparison that we immediately love him for not being a selfish, sex-obsessed teen like his brother.  I give him a 3 because I have a thing for blond surfer dudes but ones that become obsessed with a single girl and make some weird proclamation about all the girls they’ve been with before (at the age of 18 mind you) lose serious points.

How believable is the plot: 5. I’ve never met two brothers who happen to be gorgeous and fall in love with me simultaneously. Maybe there’s some jealousy there or something but I find that plot point highly suspect.  The young girl who becomes infatuated with the guy who rescued her years ago? Now that’s a premise I can get on board with.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 2. This writer needs an editor. Sometimes Robin would think the same thing in two separate paragraphs only using different words.  I remember thinking, “Now, wait, didn’t I already read this part?” But no, I hadn’t because she was just reiterating what she said three paragraphs earlier.  A good editor would clear that right up. There were lots of typos and grammatical issues as well as bad pacing and dialogue.

How much did I want to keep reading: 1. I didn’t. I didn’t believe that Elliott really wanted Robin. In fact, I kept waiting for the punchline where he turns out to be an even bigger cad than his brother who was just toying with Robin’s emotions. Only that didn’t happen and the book sank deep down into the depths of “Judith almost can’t finish this but will because the Kindle progress bar claims it’s almost over”.

Final Score: 2/10. This wasn’t one of my most enjoyable reading experiences. The overall story was subpar and the writing left a lot to be desired.  Sorry if this review feels a bit lackluster but I’m just reacting to what I’m given here, people.

 

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