So Aussie writer, Sarah Billington, wrote a kick butt book called the The Kiss Off which I loved! I mean, girl musicians angrily vindicating themselves against stupid boys who break their hearts are the best kinds of books in my opinion. When the book was finished and the review written, I started thinking, “This isn’t over. Right?” I asked Sarah what was going on with a sequel and all I got was a maybe. So I begged and pleaded, pleaded and begged, “Sarah,” I needled. “When are you going to write that sequel to The Kiss Off? I mean, I’m dying over here! I need more. More More MORE!” And finally, all that nagging and begging paid off! The sequel is coming out soon (how soon are we talking, Sarah?!) And since Sarah obviously wants to keep me happy, she’s got an excerpt from it to share! Yippee!!!
Hey peeps! You all remember fun and funny Aussie writer Sarah Billington right? Of course you do! She wrote The Kiss Off, a hilarious romp about one teenage songwriter’s voyage from just another youtube singer to international song writing sensation for the hottest boy band on the planet. Well, now she’s coming out with this awesome looking short story, Ba(n)d Romance. I mean, everything about it screams, Read me! Read me! And believe me, I will:
Jordan thought she and Paul were forever. Then she found out about Missy: Paul’s other forever.
Now it’s the night of the sophomore dance. Jordan’s on stage with her band, Paul’s text bombing her and Missy’s in the audience with murder on her
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mind. Unfortunately, it’s not Paul in Missy’s sights.
Another short and sassy story from Sarah Billington.
Best part is, she’s giving away a free copy at her own blog! http://sarahbillington.
with being a teenager. Or a human being. Sarah was extremely accident-prone and klutzy as a kid and teen, so her cup runneth over with experiences of horrendously awkward moments to draw from in her writing. Thankfully, she has grown out of her klutziness. Mostly. She is, however, still an embarrassment.She loves a variety of random things, which include Swing Dancing, Ice Hockey, Roller Derby and is a bit obsessive about paranormal investigation shows and channel E!.
Format: Kindle Edition
I gotta admit it: I love angry girls who vanquish the men that decimate them and their too-soft hearts. There is something so satisfying in realizing that even though Bobby Gardiner managed to rip out your heart, stomp on it while laughing, and then move on effortlessly with that blonde haired tramp Chrissy Moore in the 7th grade, well, there are girls out there who are getting even in a big, big way and not letting something as trivial as heart-break stop them from being in control. And contrary to popular belief, I’m not bitter or anything. Just so you know. Not bitter at all. I’m actually happy it happened then because Bobby Gardiner is now fat with a capital F and pining over my facebook pics, Chrissy. So there!
Blindsided when her boyfriend Cameron leaves her for her co-worker, Nikki, Poppy does the only thing any sensible, angst-ridden teenaged girl would do. She writes a song about how horrible he and his new girlfriend are, performs it on video, and then posts it to Youtube for all the world to see! Without any effort on her part, the video goes viral. Then she meets Ty, the lead singer for a local band and with very little persuasion, allows him to use her song for a few gigs. Using her song as a springboard, Ty and his band become overnight, international successes and Poppy must deal with falling for him hard, the stress of having a famous boyfriend, and small town ex Cam who still seems to have a thing for her. What’s a girl to do? Two boys, a hot musical career, and far more paparazzi than she ever dreamed of keep Poppy on her toes as she tries to handle everything along with the intricacies of adolescence.
Ok, straight up: I really liked this book. Granted that happens a lot, but not often does it happen with a book that took me so long to get into. I don’t know if it was the fact that the first chapter threw a lot of weird names at me (think Vanya, Ravi, and Mads) or if it was that I am so over girls getting torn up by watching their exes with their new girlfriends;
regardless, I found it very hard to motivate myself to push through that first chapter but I am certainly glad I did. After that initial chapter, I could not stop reading. Literally, I read it on a plane all in one sitting. Lucky for me the flight was over 7 hours. Seriously my eyes actually hurt at the end. But that’s because The Kiss Off is fresh and fun and extremely upbeat. It engages you effortlessly. There are some points in the story that could have been mired down in depressing dialogue or action, but Sarah Billington managed to create an atmosphere that wasn’t angry or angsty in any way. Poppy remained a perpetually optimistic albeit snarky character even while doing stupid things like sexting or accusing her boyfriend of cheating on her with a sexy Hollywood harlot. She never became bitter about the way her relationship with Ty worked out and while she was perhaps overly bitter about her break up with Cam, it’s necessary to the plot and therefore excusable. She had a great relationship with her family and generally respected her parents which I have to applaud the author for. Her relationship with Ty felt a bit forced on a occasion and definitely needed a bit more development and couple-y interaction to make it believable. But the amount of tension and longing they felt while he was away on tour certainly made up for the lack of in person sexy times.
Even though Billington is an extremely agile writer and overall I enjoyed (read: devoured) this book, there were a few questionable points that irked me (above and beyond the difficulty I had to get interested in the story during the first chapter). Okay, I’m going to go ahead lay it out there, just rip the band-aid right off and expose it.
1. When foreign authors write about America for an American audience, I don’t expect there to be any weird un-americanisms in there anywhere. It should be seamless. Aussie Sarah makes a great effort but NONE of the characters speak with any slang whatsoever. None. No American teenagers would have such perfect diction. But no, there’s nothing beyond some contractions and believe me, that’s off. I mean, I’m an adult and I throw around “gotta”, “outta”, “shoulda”, “BTW”, and “OMG” almost hourly. But here, nada. Not once do you see a teenager speak one word of slang. It was just plain weird.
2. Speaking of incongruous American elements, this is one that really stuck in my craw: there’s one point where Poppy and Ty speak on the phone while he’s supposedly touring the States but at one point, he actually says something like, “What time is it?” and when Poppy tells him, he’s like, oh right you’re four hours ahead. Hate to be the voice of reason but there’s no point in the contiguous US that is 4 hours away. East Coast is 3 hours ahead of the West. That’s it.
3. And this is perhaps the oddest of all: why didn’t anyone at any time say to Poppy, “Are they paying you for your song because you really deserve royalties?” Not once did her parents or anyone anywhere in her sphere influence mention that maybe the band or recording company or tv shows owed her royalties for use of her song. They didn’t even ask her to sign a contract or anything. Maybe Ellen and I worked at the law firm way too long but I can’t imagine any parent allowing a minor’s work to be plagarized and used so blatantly without recompense. It was just odd.
I realize that making a big deal out of these three things seems like I had major issues with the book and really I didn’t. They just really stuck with me so I had to lay them out there so you wouldn’t be as shocked as I was…or maybe I’m just odd myself for being bothered by them and you simply won’t care. (Please god don’t let me be the odd one here).
So based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 9. Poppy was spunky, snarky, and wicked talented with lyrics and a guitar. She was a bit naive with the whole “getting recognition or royalties for her work thing” but she was a hilarious character who never seemed to let any of the crap in her life get her down. I kept expecting the angst to overwhelm her but it never did and in turn, it never made the book feel heavy or depressing.
How much did I like the love interest: 8. There’s actually two! I didn’t touch on it above because I really didn’t like her ex, Cam, but there’s a whole other sub-plot involving the love triangle of Cam, Ty, and Poppy. Poppy must choose between gorgeous and talented (and quickly thereafter rich and famous) rocker Ty and boring, quasi-cheater Cam. Tough call, girl, tough call. She should have kicked Cam to the curb in chapter one but I guess The Kiss Off would have been more like a novella then since the whole eponymous song that launches Ty’s career is based off of how Cam cheated on her and she still has unrequited feelings for him… Anywho,Ty seems cute and loyal even in the face of slutty Hollywood stars. Cam not so much of any of those things. Cam actually seems way too stupid and vanilla for someone as peppy and talented as Poppy. So Ty gets the 8 and Cam gets a…snooze…
How believable is the plot: 8. I keep hoping that someone I know will pop up famous granted at my age the only things you could become famous are usually aren’t very flattering. A girl can dream though that her bf becomes an international singing sensation overnight and it’s her song that helps him achieve that. Actually, faced with Kelly Clarkson and Daughtry, it’s easy to believe that dreams like becoming a musical star aren’t so unattainable.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. Sarah Billington has just the right amount of snark to temper the optimism and pep of her book. The dialogue is extremely well written, the action is paced very well, and the subject matter isn’t one that I’ve seen written before. She loses points though for the not-quite American touches because even though I’m married to a Frenchman, I still want things that profess to be American to actually be so.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. The story ends a bit abruptly. Actually, so much so that I questioned the author about her willingness to write a sequel. She says there more than likely will be one! Yay! Maybe Poppy will finally get remuneration for her work! Maybe Ty will call her a bit more often when on tour! Maybe Cam will realize that he really is a loser douchebag and get lost because he’s boring to read about! A girl can dream.
Final Score: 8/10. All in all, a solid read. Fun, fast paced, with a bit of Hollywood flair to make the girly girl in all of us swoon.
****Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the author. I swear I didn’t bribe her in any way, or get paid for my review. And we might not be legit enough to need this disclaimer but after working at a law firm for many years it’s better safe than sorry!****
People, what can I say? Yet another review by a guest blogger…though((!!!) this one is a suprisingly legitimate collaboration between an author and myself. It is a far more planned and thought out than my groveling, prostrate before Richelle, our hard working guest blogger, a day before I need her to review something and who to her great credit, never turns me down (thank god). Author, Sarah Billington, reviews one of her latest fave reads and tomorrow we’ll return the favor by reviewing one of ours, her book The Kiss Off.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
A book review by Sarah Billington
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of Hadley’s life…
Her father is getting married in London to a woman she’s never met, and she’s just missed her flight.
Hadley has never believed in destiny or fate before…
But, stuck at the airport in New York, today is also the day she meets Oliver. He’s British. He’s cute. And he’s on her new flight.
Set over twenty-four hours, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.
Sarah Billington’s Review:
Life gets busy, and for the past couple of months I have been frustrating the heck out of myself, by starting reading books, getting halfway and then getting excited by aNOTHER book and starting that. I have a whole stack of half-finished novels at the moment and have been dying for that book that would NOT let me put it down.
For me, The Statistical Improbability of Love at First Sight was that book.
I read it in a single day, when I really should have been doing other stuff. But I don’t regret it one bit.
The plot is a lot deeper than I at first thought it would be ( judging the book by its title), and I found that I could very much relate to the protagonist, Hadley, who is severely conflicted in how she feels about things and
people in her life. She loves her father, but he has hurt her and her mother and broken her family, so she also hates him. But she also misses him with all her heart but he’s getting married – there’s no return from this, her family is broken for good – so she also hates him.
The writing style is simple and easy to read, there aren’t a lot of poetic flourishes and though they can be beautiful and inspiring in a book, I appreciate simplicity of style just as much.
And Oliver, the love interest, wasn’t portrayed as a swoon worthy boy who is complete perfection, but a real one. Sure, he’s described as being good-looking (but isn’t everyone good-looking to someone?), but he’s also funny and playful, thoughtful and genuine and as I said before: real.
I loved how the book and all relationships developed and changed. Jennifer E. Smith did a wonderful job with The Statistical Improbability of Love at First Sight, and I’m looking forward to whatever she writes next.
So based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine 8
How much did I like the love interest 10!
How believable is the plot 8
How much did I like the writing style/editing 8
How much did I want to keep reading 10!
Final score 9
Woohoo! Judith here! A big thanks to author, Sarah Billington, for being our guest blogger today. For those of you who haven’t yet been exposed to Sarah and her fun, quirky writing style, you are missing out on something monumental. The girl is that good. She’s also aussie which seems to give her more credo though I’m not exactly sure why…her latest book, The Kiss Off, is set to be released May 15th but you’ll get the skinny on it tomorrow right here. That’s right, we’ll be reviewing The Kiss Off as part of the The Kiss Off Blog Tour and you’ll want to tune in for that review because a) it’ll be my first review in 2.5 weeks (lazy lazy I know but there were extenuating circumstances! Honest!); b) the book has a pretty interesting premise and the ending may shock you c) you missed me. Pick any or all of the above.
A little bit more about Sarah plus pictures! Enjoy.
Tangled in a web of unfinished homework, ill-considered sexting and a new lead-singer boyfriend, Poppy has a choice to make between the ex that inspired it all and the rock God whose poster lines the inside of half the lockers at school. But as she struggles to keep her emotional dirty laundry private, she learns that the truth can be hard to find when your life is in the headlines.
What’s that sound? Oh yes, it is silence, something my house has been lacking quite a bit of for the last two weeks. You see, we’ve had houseguests. The sort of houseguests that you love having around (my mother-in-law is a dream! She cooks, cleans, buys groceries, takes care of me and my husband. Now if we could only get her to learn some English and then force her onto one of those shows called Supermom or My Favorite Mother-In-Law, we could make a killing because this lady would WIN. She’s amazing). But still: my tiny New York apartment has been a crowded mess for half a month and there hasn’t been much time for reviews or reading lists or funny posts about authors and their upcoming books.
I do however have some great contests, an awesome blog tour and book release, one review thanks to Richelle, our fabulous go-to guest blogger, and some other tidbits you might find interesting. So here we go:
Fellow blogger, Mollie Harper of Tough Critic Book Reviews, is trying to beg/grovel/whine/connive her way into an ARC of Onyx, Jennifer L Armentrout’s sequel to Obsidian. If you haven’t started this series about hot aliens living next door, check out our review and then enter to win Mollie’s contest to win a copy of Obsidian. It’ll also help her on her way to Likes which she hopes will get her noticed by Entangled Publishing…a girl can always dream because we all know Entangled is guarding those puppies like diamonds.
BLOG TOUR and SURPRISE AUTHOR GUEST REVIEW:
We’re participating in the Sarah Billington Kiss Off Blog tour! For those of you who are scratching your heads and saying, “The who to what tour?”, let me introduce you. This is Sarah Billington, a new YA author from the land down under:
Doesn’t she look fun? And Aussie? Well, Sarah has written an equally fun and fabulous book called, The Kiss Off:
It’s about a 16 year old song writer named Poppy and what happens when she releases a very real song about teenage heartbreak on Youtube. Mum’s the word about anything more since our review of it will be out on May 2nd. In anticipation, we have a very special Sarah Billington review of The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love which will be out on May 1st!
Guest blogger, Richelle, has stepped up to the plate again and reviewed Slammed by Colleen Hoover. Lake and her family move to Michigan from Texas after the loss of her father. While there she meets hottie next door neighbor, Will, and the two are drawn to each other through another traumatic event. Richelle gives it 100000000/10 and has been trying to push the book on not only me but all people she comes into contact with. High praise indeed.
Contrary to what we were originally told, the release for Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout has been pushed back to August. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth as it were:
Hello, hello, reading world! I’m on my way out the door (figuratively since if I were, I couldn’t be typing to you on my trusty computer) but wanted to leave you with some fun reading for the next week. Oh yes, didn’t I mention? I’m outta here for ten days! I’ll be in balmy (read: humid and hot) Texas and then on to Las Vegas, baby! Excited and ecstatic are two words that come to mind when I think of my little vacation to come. I’m going from this:
And then this:
Now do you see the cause of my enthusiasm? There should be pictures of cocktails, pools, and buff bodied men in there too but I couldn’t find any pictures of those subjects that adequately convey my happiness.
For this trip, my Kindle is all stocked and I will be reading:
1. The Kiss Off by Sarah Billington: an amateur song writer’s latest song of heartbreak goes global and launches her into instant success. Sarah Billington’s book won’t be out til May and we’ll be part of a HUGE multi-blog tour to promote it. Can’t wait to share all the info.
2. Rematch by Janine Caldwell: Cassie and Trent’s worlds are about to collide, but not in the way you might normally expect. After a rocky start to their senior year, Trent is determined to hide from Cassie how their lives are supernaturally linked. But when Cassie’s past continues to torment her, she’s soon looking to Trent for answers. Trent must choose between admitting what he is and his role in her past, or running away from her forever.
3. Hold on Tight by Maria Monteiro: Maria is a twitter buddy and authoress. Girlfriend is funny, snarky, and just a little bit naughty so I’m excited to read this “summer romance” as she has explained it to me.
And while not technically YA (and by technically I mean not at all):
4. Lover Reborn by JR Ward: Come on! If you don’t know about the Black Dagger Brotherhood you have been living under a rock! JR Ward’s gang of thuggish vampires and their mates is smokin’ hot and all are pretty decent reads.
5. At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran: I adore Meredith Duran. She is one of my absolute all time favorite romance writers. Each of her books is well written and superbly crafted. Check out her debut, Duke of Shadows, for an AMAZINGLY well written love story set in exotic British-occupied India.
And now, I leave the blog in the oh-so capable hands of Ellen. Enjoy!