It Had To Be You, Lizzy Charles – Book Review

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34530550James Parson has a problem. His military dad is going to yank him out of his expensive boarding school if James doesn’t prove he’s no longer hooking up, pulling pranks, and charming his way out of consequences. What better way to show he’s now responsible than becoming the committed boyfriend of a U.S. diplomat’s daughter?

Level-headed, book-smart Edelweiss may have traveled the world thanks to her dad’s job, but when it comes to friends and boys, she knows exactly nothing. Newly enrolled in boarding school, Edel is now on a mission to learn it all. James says he’ll help her experience the ultimate high school life—if she’ll be his fake girlfriend. And fake is perfect, because he’s exactly the kind of player she’d never date.

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*Review copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

It Had To Be You is a cute contemporary romance featuring Edelweiss and James. Edel, who is home schooled, wants to experience high school before she goes off to college. So, her parents enroll her into this one boarding school. She meets James, who is, of course, the most popular boy in school and they quickly start a fake relationship so that they can both find advantage out of it.

The book is full of cliches – from the naive, new girl in school to the popular boy and their fake relationship turning to a real one to the bitchy ex that the boy has. This book has it all and then some.

What I really liked about this is that it was a quick read. I was done in some two hours and that’s great for my TBR! I like that the characters, though cliche, were endearing and I couldn’t help but like them and their story. Of course, they do stupid stuff, but hey! They’re teenagers. As a whole though, Edel and James both seem wise beyond their ages. Their relationship, though, was really cute and I found myself rooting for them from the beginning. They’re so cute and adorable together and their relationship is healthy. I like it.

I like how James isn’t a bad boy, bad boy, but just a boy who made some bad decisions, as people his age tend to do. He’s scared of horror movies and he’s a literature nerd! So, there. I love that.

I also loved how this book has diversity. So, bonus points for that!

What I didn’t like was all the lack of communication in the book. Like, so much of the conflict could have easily been resolved if people just TALKED TO EACH OTHER. Plus, the bitchy ex was a little too bitchy and I am not okay with it. Like, girl, let go. You do not need to do all this shit just to prove a point. You’re good just the way you are!

Also, too much drama!

All in all, an okay read that I enjoyed! It was definitely better than I expected, but could have been made better in a few more aspects!

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7149579When Lizzy Charles isn’t scrambling to raise her two spunky toddlers or caring for premature and sick babies as a neonatal intensive care nurse, she’s in a quiet corner writing or snuggled up with a novel and a few squares of dark chocolate. Black tea keeps her constant and she loves guacamole. She married her high school sweet heart, a heart-melting musician, so it’s no surprise she’s fallen in love with writing contemporary YA romance novels.

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The Bad Boy Bargain, Kendra C. Highley – Blog Tour

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30415027Baseball player Kyle Sawyer has many labels: bad boy, delinquent, ladies’ man, fearless outfielder… Only one of them is actually true. But then sweet ballet dancer Faith Gladwell asks him to help wreck her reputation, and everything goes sideways.

Faith knows a thing or two about love, and what she had with her cheating jerk of an ex wasn’t it. When he starts spreading rumors about her being an Ice Queen, Faith decides it’s time to let a little bad into her life.

Lucky for her, Kyle Sawyer—dark, dangerous, totally swoonworthy Kyle Sawyer—is landscaping her backyard over Spring Break. Shirtless. And if she can convince him to play along, “dating” Kyle will silence the rumors.

But Faith’s plan threatens to expose Sawyer’s biggest secret of all…and that’s a risk he’s not willing to take.

Disclaimer: This book contains drop-the-book-and-fan-yourself kisses…and touches. Fall in love with a bad boy at your own risk.

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Oooohhhhh. This was a really cute, fun and quick read! The plot is something we’re all aware of, but I really liked the way it was handled here.

The writing is nice and the flow of the plot is very good! What I like is nothing felt forced. In plots like this, at times, things can feel really forced between the couple, but apart from the awkwardness which was there with pretending, it wasn’t forced. Things fell into place so naturally that you’d never question how it happened or that it just happened because that’s the plot and there wouldn’t be a story if this wasn’t happening. And I really, really liked that.

Another great thing was the importance of friendship which was emphasized in the story. Many a time, in such stories, the friends are forgotten as the couple gets involved within each other, but in this story, the friends were always there. In fact, there was a lot of mending of relationships which had been screwed in the past. Heart to hearts with your best friend and seeking their advice and opinion formed an important part of the book and it really warmed my heart.

The characters were real and believable. The situations they got into while heartbreaking at times, were what we might face in reality and that grounded the story. I like that.

Faith is the typical goody two shoes who’s everyone’s favorite, is focused and knows what she wants with life. She’s funny and sarcastic and can flirt like a pro. So, yeah, she’s a really well rounded character and I like that about her. She’s shy in some aspects but she’s never afraid to speak her mind out. I mean, she’s all sorts of awesome!

And then, there’s Kyle. He’s hot as fuck but he’s also this sweet, amazing boy who’s been through a lot in life. He’s caring and kind and gentle but also a little frightening when angered and is an all round badass. He’s like any 18 year old boy and the way he projects himself to others is really important to him. He’s scared to be who he really is because he thinks people will judge him for it and after all that’s happened in the past, he doesn’t want to give others a chance to hold something over him, which is why he pretends to be the detached bad boy who isn’t faxed by anything. I really like the way he comes into himself through the course of the story. Some of it because of Faith, some because of his friends and some because of his family. It’s a really great journey and I like that!

All in all, this is a nice read and I’d definitely recommend it to you if you’re looking for a deep but quick read!

 

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Chapter One

Kyle

Badass, troublemaker, girl magnet—familiar words always followed Kyle from his locker to his senior English classroom. Or from the cafeteria to the parking lot. Or from the locker room to the baseball field. Anywhere he went, the whispers followed.

Today, it went something like, “Ooh, I know who we should vote most likely to drop out before graduation,” as he walked by. Or, “I heard he banged two girls at once at North Texas last weekend. College girls, man!” Or, “Dude, I heard MLB scouts are coming to the games to watch him play.”

He wished that last one were true.

Kyle zipped his hoodie up tighter, acting like he couldn’t hear a word. The dark red hoodie and a pair of headphones were pretty thin armor, even if he did encourage the stories…the lies. Suttonville High was a big enough maze of suck without letting the truth out.

And no way, no how, was he showing any sort of weakness ever again.

“Dude! Wait up!” a guy called.

For a second, Kyle stiffened. Old habits died hard. But he recognized the voice and let his shoulders relax. Cade Adams, unlike the hundreds of rich, snobby kids crowding the halls, was worth waiting for. He slowed his stride until Cade caught up, looking disheveled. For an amused moment, he wondered if Cade was running from a pack of zombified football players, then he noticed the pleading look on Cade’s face. The same one he’d ignored from a half dozen other guys.

He shook his head. “Nope, still not going.”

“It’s supposed to be a great party,” Cade said, running a hand over his hair to coerce it back into shape. It was a little too long, and curls kept springing up on his head. “First night of spring break, man. All the seniors are going.”

“Everyone except me,” Kyle said, quickening his pace.

“Come on,” Cade pleaded. “I need to be your wingman. Just once. Your leftovers would be a feast to us mere mortals.”

That’s what half the baseball team said, too. But if he let someone be his wingman, they’d find out really quick that he wasn’t what everyone assumed. “Sorry, not my scene.”

“Fine. Okay, I get it.” Cade’s crooked smile didn’t do much to hide his disappointment. “Just…think about it.”

He strode off, breezing through the hall filled with students in designer clothes as if his Iron Man T-shirt, wild hair, and faded jeans didn’t matter to him. And it didn’t—at some point last fall, Cade had become cool. Either that, or he’d stopped caring what any of them thought.

Lucky bastard.

Kyle stalked to chemistry, praying he’d pass today’s test. Being dyslexic turned the periodic table into a medieval torture device, even if his teacher was good about giving him tutoring on the down low. He couldn’t let anyone know he actually cared about his grades, aside from passing to play baseball.

“I heard he’s going out with some girl at Texas Woman’s,” a girl whispered to another as he walked in, as if he couldn’t hear them.

“Wish I knew for sure if anyone here has a chance,” said the other girl, a pretty senior who had a reputation of being a man-eater. “Because I’d ride that pony all over town.”

Kyle’s ears flamed up. To hide his discomfort, he rolled his neck, getting a little satisfaction out of the wary stares after the vertebrae cracked. That’s right, the scary kid just cracked his back. You puny humans shouldn’t try that at home.

The bell rang and he sank into his desk, adopting his typical pose of “I’m only here because the truant officer made me show up today” with his legs stretched out in the aisle. Mrs. Moody, the chem teacher, rolled her eyes. She saw right through him. And if she could, how much longer would it be before everyone else did?

During the test—in which chemical compounds morphed into ancient Hebrew right before his eyes—he couldn’t shake the conversation with Cade. He felt bad about letting the guy down, especially since he hadn’t been much of a friend the last few years, but he hated those parties because of the baggage that rode on them. Namely, his reputation.

Because who at Suttonville would believe that the resident delinquent, skateboard-riding, drag-racing, smart-mouthed chick magnet Kyle Sawyer was actually none of those things?

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The Bad Boy Bargain, Kendra C. Highley – Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour

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Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.

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