Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Leah on the Offbeat

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Title: Leah on the Offbeat

Author: Becky Albertalli

Performer: Shannon Purser

Length: 7 hr, 11 min, 21 sec

Series: Creekwood, Book 2

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Harper Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, so I was thrilled when I found out the author was publishing a book highlighting another character introduced in the first of the Creekwood series.

Leah was a character I enjoyed very much in Simon’s book, and I was excited to get to know her better.  Leah’s character is self-assured and opinionated, and she loves her appearance, despite the fact that her body type does not adhere to traditional standards of beauty.  She is confident in just about every aspect of herself, except her sexuality and her art.  Leah is a very talented artist, but she is reluctant to show her deeply personal work to the people in her life.  Perhaps she is worried that it will be revealing of the secret she has been harboring from her friends…her bisexuality.

Based on the description above, I should love Leah, but once inside her head, I actually found her to be a bit obnoxious.  To make matters worse, many situations in the book made me cringe, because Leah was outright rude or inconsiderate to the people around her.  By the end of the book, I was not her biggest fan.

The romance between Leah and another character was also very problematic.  Her love interest came off extremely flat and the chemistry just wasn’t there.  The story also does not address any blowback that would have undoubtedly occurred if the romance progressed the way it did in the book.  It was extremely unrealistic and disappointing when the author jumped over any inevitable falling out and just included a “happy ending” epilogue to gloss it all over.

Despite my disdain for this book, the performer did a great job with her narration.  I would give her a higher star rating than the book itself if I could.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Title: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Performer: Michael Crouch

Length: 6 hr, 45 min, 6 sec

Series: Creekwood, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2015 by Harper Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This love story is adorable.  Simon is adorable.  Everything about this book is adorable.

In all seriousness though, this is an excellent coming-of-age/teen romance.  It’s angsty and endearing and you just want to reach through the pages and give Simon a big hug.  It is hard for me to relate directly to his experiences coming out to his family and friends, but many of Simon’s struggles to accept himself are universal.  The supporting characters in this story are, for the most part, also very likable.  Simon’s friends and family are so accepting of who he is, that at first it seemed silly to me that he is so reluctant to come out to them. As the story progresses, however, I really got a better grasp of how scary this step is to a teen, regardless of whether or not they have a strong support network.

I enjoyed this story in audiobook format.  I have listened to other audiobooks performed by Michael Crouch, and his voice is very well suited to books told from the perspective of a teenage boy.  It’s a very generic “young man” voice, and his even cadence makes his performances very easy to listen to.

After reading this book, I was very excited to rent the movie adaptation Love, Simon.  My expectations for book-turned-movie adaptations are always low, but the movie was extremely well cast, and they captured the feel of the book very well.  This can be difficult to do, especially when so much of the book is introspective.

Both the book and the film were very heart-warming, and I highly recommend both to fans of this genre.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance

At Any Price

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Title: At Any Price

Author: Brenna Aubrey

Page Count: 391

Series: Gaming the System

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2013, Silver Griffon Associates

Format: eBook

Review: I read this on the plane to Boston after my trip home for the holidays earlier this year, and let me just say that that was an awkward experience. Ever tried reading a romance novel on a plane, where people can see your screen? I don’t recommend it. But I do recommend this book/series. I continued the rest of them while holed up in my hotel room (Boston is super cold in January- who knew?) and it was the perfect break from all the research I was doing during the day. It let me relax my mind and not think about anything but the life of the two lovebirds.

I have to admit one more thing before I go onto the rest of the review: I bought the book because I read the synopsis and thought it would be hilariously bad. I was very pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t! I think that while the synopsis was accurate, it really lets the book down. I can’t be the only one that laughed at it, and not everyone enjoys reading hilariously bad books like I do and wouldn’t give it a chance.

I found it really hard to put down, and therefore read through it very quickly. One plane ride across the country was plenty of time to slip into the world of Mia Strong and Adam Drake and the auction for her virginity (I told you sounds absurd). Both characters are strong and independent and very lovable, despite their flaws. I also loved the nerdy sub-plot of video game quests and the friendships formed from online gaming.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get tied up in someone else’s problems for a little bit. The series follows Mia and Adam for a few books, then moves onto their friends. I have only read the Mia and Adam ones so far, but if I have time in the future, I would like to read the rest.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Historical · Romance

Cowboy Pride

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Title: Cowboy Pride

Author: Lacy Williams

Page Count: 252

Series: Wild Wyoming Hearts, Book 3

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 28, 2017 by Lacy Williams Book LLC

Format: eBook

Review: This book was terrible.  The only reason it was not a DNF for me was because it was selected as the Big Library Read by my library.  I finished it through pure will and determination.

Although a Pride & Prejudice fan, this book did not translate well as a Western. I don’t know if this is because of the author’s writing style, or because the setting just didn’t work.

I really do not have much to say about this one, except I would never recommend it to anyone, especially not a diehard Jane Austen fan.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

All_Star_Gold