ARC Review: There’s Something About Nik by Sara Hantz

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Nik Gustafsson has a secret: He’s not really Nik Gustafsson.

He’s not a spy. He’s not crazy.

He’s just the son and heir to one of the most important families in Europe—one where duty always comes first. And his posh, too-public life is suffocating him. So when he gets the chance to attend boarding school in America, pretending to be an average exchange student is too big of a temptation to pass up.

Then he literally runs into Amber on campus. And she hates him at first sight.

It’s kind of exhilarating to be hated for who he is, not for his family name or his wealth. Maybe if he turns up the charm and turns down the aloof mask he habitually wears, he can win her over. Even though a bad past experience has made her swear off dating this year.

But the more he gets to know her, the more uncomfortable he is keeping things from her.

Because Nik Gustafsson has a secret. And it’s a big one.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hot boy who’s the strong and silent type, a studious girl who refuses to believe in fairy-tale romance, and one epic secret that could be disastrous if it comes to light.

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Entangled Crush

There’s Something About Nik was missing something. It felt surface deep and I was left wanting, hoping for more. The premise is fantastic and reminiscent of one of my all time favorite romantic comedies, The Prince & Me, the only difference being that this story is set in an elite high school. What girl doesn’t dream of falling for a guy who turns out to be so much more than he seems? Better than she ever could have imagined?

My biggest issue with this story was the plot lines that fell apart and felt totally forgotten as the story progressed. One of the main characters, Amber, is in remission from cancer. This comes up I believe twice, or something equally low. It functions as a main plot point; it’s the reason that Amber is so hesitant to date, so mistrusting of others, etc. It wasn’t built on at all. It just sat there and was called up when necessary. I kind of expected more from Amber when she talked about her cancer, but the big focus was on the jerk who broke her heart. I needed more. I needed her family. Amber talks about how much she loves them or whatever, but they’re invisible. The story was short. It was cut in weird spots leaving chapters feeling unfinished and there was so much more room to add small details that would have made the characters come to life, but instead they were sort of just there. 

Secondary characters, at first, had a pretty strong presence. I looked forward to reading more about Amber’s best friend because she’s a beautiful person and a bit of a risk taker. But as the story progressed, it became so much about Amber’s feelings about Nik that her bestie was neglected. There really aren’t many characters within the story in general. Nik’s friend is also on the sidelines, even though he’s dating Amber’s friend and you’d think there’d be more. 

I was dying for description. There are whole chunks here that summarize what happened rather than showing. I would have loved to see Nik and Amber dating. Though the scene on the school bus was pretty heated and one of the better ones in terms of developing their attraction, there needed to be more as a baseline. 

Nik’s POVs. Sometimes he read as robotic and cold. Others he was flooded with confusing emotions about this strange girl, Amber. When the romance was there, it was blissfully awkward and funny. It was believable and there was quite the Pride and Prejudice vibe. 

Had the characters been more fleshed out, I would have been able to make a strong emotional connection and would have liked the story better. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

Guest Post: Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle

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Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

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I am not a runner. At all. I have stopped and started Couch to 5K several times. I’ve deleted it and reinstalled it on my phone at least twice. This is a place where my main character, Elena, and I differ.

But one way we’re the same, is that we both love the Scissor Sisters, and I’m guessing other music that gets us moving. Here’s the playlist I, old Aunt Julie, would make for her.

“I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” by the Scissor Sisters. Nothing makes me want to dance more than this song.

“Try Everything” by Shakira. I know I’m supposed to loathe this song because the lyrics are kind of silly and it’s from an animated film (Zootopia, which is amazing), but this song pumps me up because it’s all about perseverance. And it’s just stinking catchy.

“Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior. Because it’s illegal not to move during this song. I will never not love this song.

“Technologic” by Daft Punk. Same with this song. Never gets old.

“Bling (Confessions of a King)” by The Killers. Or this one. Evergreen workout songs.

“Workout Plan” by Kanye West. This song always makes me smile through my workout. Yes, Kanye, I’d like to be able to impress “at least a dude with a car.” Please help me.

The Creed soundtrack. Rocky music with a more modern beat. It’ll have you saving America through boxing in no time.

“Shame on You” by the Indigo Girls. I saw them perform last summer for the first time in, like, eighteen years, and it put me on a real Amy and Emily kick. This song rocks AND it fits our current political climate.

“Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins. I’m on a real Phil Collins kick right now. I can’t explain it. Must be something in the air tonight.

“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth” by REM. I’m also on an REM kick.

“Shiny” from the Moana soundtrack (performed by Jemaine Clement): This is a good cool down son. Really, I just wanted to include it on the list because it’s my favorite right now. “Fish are dumb, dumb, dumb.”

Happy reading,

Jordan

Blog Tour, ARC Review, & Giveaway: Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle

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Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Entangled Crush

Any Boy But You is an adorable, feel good story that reads like a quirky ode to Pride and Prejudice. It’s full of that love-hate, push and shove, combined with a generations-long rivalry that keeps you on your toes and infuriates at the same time. 

Here’s what I loved about this story:

It’s fun. There’s a super creative competition going on that sets up a virtual meet cute for out main characters and it’s a rush. Sometimes it’s so much easier to be honest and open with a stranger and using the Stash chat has allowed Elena and Oliver to not only grow, but recognize their own shortcomings, the stupidity of their family hate, and cast off their prejudice. 

The love-hate is epic with these two. There are tons of barbs and calling each other out. They hit where it hurts and it’s not necessarily mean, but truths that the other needs to hear to see their flaws and work on them. Elena is a sarcasm queen. She’s got some insanely quick and pointed lines that will make out laugh out loud. 

The romance. No matter how hard they fight it, resistance is futile 😉 It’s weird, it’s awkward, and with the amount of animosity, it’s pretty explosive, but when it’s real, it’s good. 

There are a number of LGBT characters. I appreciated that it wasn’t a huge deal. So often in YA books, the fact that a character is gay is made a gigantic arc where it’s like they have the plague or something. Here, it is an exploration, a realization, and hey, no one flips out, so that was awesome. 

Here’s what I would have liked more:

The secondary characters were interesting. They had unique personalities and many times, they made the main characters question themselves. However, there was nowhere near enough of them. Regina and Harper. I would have loved to see more of them. Especially the friendship between Harper and Elena, the sibling relationship between Oliver and Regina, and while I loved Craig, it felt like he had more of a presence than Regina and Harper combined. More interactions.

This book could have been at least 50 pages longer. It moves at a steady pace and it goes by pretty fast. There were places that could have been more developed, like above comment, and the story would have had a stronger chance for the reader to form more emotional connections with the characters. 

I expected more conflict. When identities are revealed, it’s kind of a shrug. This made little sense. After all the hate and anger and effort to insult, flipped switch. It was too sudden. 

authorjulie-hammerle-author-photoJulie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us, which will be published by Entangled Teen on June 7, 2016. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her iPod reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instragram | Goodreads

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Playful reading, 

Jordan

Interview: There’s Something About Nik by Sara Hantz

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Nik Gustafsson has a secret: He’s not really Nik Gustafsson.

He’s not a spy. He’s not crazy.

He’s just the son and heir to one of the most important families in Europe—one where duty always comes first. And his posh, too-public life is suffocating him. So when he gets the chance to attend boarding school in America, pretending to be an average exchange student is too big of a temptation to pass up.

Then he literally runs into Amber on campus. And she hates him at first sight.

It’s kind of exhilarating to be hated for who he is, not for his family name or his wealth. Maybe if he turns up the charm and turns down the aloof mask he habitually wears, he can win her over. Even though a bad past experience has made her swear off dating this year.

But the more he gets to know her, the more uncomfortable he is keeping things from her.

Because Nik Gustafsson has a secret. And it’s a big one.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hot boy who’s the strong and silent type, a studious girl who refuses to believe in fairy-tale romance, and one epic secret that could be disastrous if it comes to light.

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Thanks Jordan for inviting me onto your blog to talk about There’s Something About Nik.

YABM: In the story Nik comes from a small principality in Europe, is this country modeled off on any real life place? Or if not, where would you compare Lutgenstadt to?

SARA: Lutgenstadt is a country that I made up. If I was to compare it with any other country it would be Monaco, which is small and very wealthy.

YABM: The storyline is similar to The Prince & Me, a romantic favorite. What would you say inspired you to write this story?

SARA: I haven’t actually read The Prince and Me. I was inspired to write the story because of my interest in the British royal family – I come from the UK and royal watching seems to be a national pastime.

YABM: In the book, Amber is in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, how would you say that influenced Amber’s characterization? 

SARA: The illness definitely influenced Amber’s character. She went through a terrible experience, made even worse by the way her ex-boyfriend treated her. It made her very wary, but also made her stronger.

YABM: Sometimes cancer is presented like a dirty secret that people need to hide in order not to make others feel uncomfortable, this is addressed in the book. What made you choose that route? 

SARA: I chose to have it this way based on an experience of someone I know and how others reacted toward them.

YABM: What do you want the reader to take away from this story?

SARA: I’d like readers to take away the view that trust is one of the most important things to have in a relationship. Lack of trust can only lead to disaster.

YABM: Tell us about Amber in 5 words or less.

SARA: Amber is: strong, vulnerable, warm, unaffected and humorous.

YABM: What makes Nik special?

SARA: Nik is special because he’s loyal and always wants to do the right thing. He’s very serious about his royal duties, even though he finds them suffocating.

YABM: Friendship is huge in this story. What is your favorite TV friendship?

SARA: My favorite TV friendship is Penny and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. I love how two people so very different can also be close friends and help each other.

YABM: You make referenced to Darcy in the story, who are some of your favorite literary couples?

SARA: My favorite literary couple is Darcy and Lizzie, from Pride and Prejudice. I also love Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra.

YABM: What are some of your book pet peeves?

SARA: I get really frustrated with books that have too much description. I also don’t like glaring logical errors.

YABM: What would you like to see more of in YA books?

SARA: I’d like to see even more darker contemporary YA books, which focus on uncomfortable, but realistic, areas of human life.

YABM: Tell me about your writing habits.

SARA: I have trouble concentrating for long periods of time, so I always try to write little and often. That way, I don’t have to keep going over what I’ve written earlier because it’s been so long since I read it. It also means that I’m okay with interruptions.

authorsara-hantzFacebook/Twitter/Website/Instagram

Sara Hantz has been a prolific reader all her life, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that she got the writing bug. She writes contemporary adult and young adult fiction and her debut book The Second Virginity of Suzy Green made the prestigious list ‘New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age’. Sara lectured for many years before deciding to devote more time to her writing and working in the family hospitality business. She has two grown-up children and when not writing, working, or online with her friends, she spends more time than most people she knows watching TV – in fact if TV watching was an Olympic sport she’d win gold.

Playful reading, 

Jordan

 

 

Cover Reveals: In Truth and Ashes by Nicole Luiken & Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley

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Let us know what you think of the covers for In Truth & Ashes by Nicole Luiken & Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley which release on January 2, 2017 and January 16, 2017 respectively!

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What she can’t remember could ruin her life.

The Mirror Worlds are but dull reflections of the True World, where magic and technology blend together…

On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. Uniting the families ensures hers will hold onto its powerful position, and so she’s always pushed down the tender feelings she has for her best friend—gorgeous, steadfast Demian, who isn’t noble.

But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi.

But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping—a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost—and saving the worlds.

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Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.

Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.

The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.

If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.

Disclaimer: Caution! Reading this book will open your heart and inspire you to take risks. Only those searching for true love should proceed.

Planning to Pre-order Pushing the Boundaries:

If you have pre-ordered Pushing the Boundaries or are planning to do so, then do so now to claim your free pre-order gift!free-pushing-the-boundaries-book-necklace

Don’t wait because this offer is ONLY open to the first 100 people who register their pre-orders with us.

When you pre-order either a Paperback or an eBook version of Pushing the Boundaries, you will receive the following special item. In order to receive your free gift, please complete the following Google Form and email the proof of purchase of Pushing the Boundaries (your receipt) to publicity {at} entangledpublishing {dot} com by Thursday, January 12, 2017, and then sit back and wait!

REGISTER YOUR PRE-ORDER HERE!

If you live in the US, and you’re one of the first 100 people to register your pre-order, your free gift will consist of:

  • A Pushing Book Necklace made by Stacey Trombley’s own hands!

If you live internationally, unfortunately, this free gift is not available for you due to the high cost of shipping the necklaces to other countries.

Read on,

Jordan

Review: Playing the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts

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The Good Girl Vs. The Player
Round one begins…

Trina Clemons needed the money. Why else would she – the most organized, prepared student in school – spend the summer as a nanny and partner with the biggest slacker ever? Now she’s ready to tackle nannyhood with her big binder of research and schedules. Just don’t ask her about the secret job of “fixing” the bad habits of a certain high school player…

Slade Edmunds prefers easy hook-ups, and Trina is definitely not his type. She’s all structure and rules, while Slade wants to just have fun. Fortunately, Trina has no idea about the bet Slade made with his best friend that he can totally get her to unwind by the end of summer…

Then the weirdest thing happens. There’s chemistry. A lot of it.
But nothing gets between a boy and a girl like a big, fat secret…

review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Entangled: Crush

Playing the Player is a light, funny, and enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a story to cast off those summer time blues, definitely check this out. 

PROS:

  • The banter makes this story. Trina and Slade have that irresistible love/hate going on that’s made of swoon and wanting to strangle them. They drive each other to tears of rage and frustration, but the chemistry is undeniable. They try to fight but it’s a battle they can’t win. Each interaction is comedic and full of quirky little situations that will make you laugh out loud and fall for this meant-to-be pairing. 
  • Secondary characters were lively, hilarious, and definitely memorable. So many times the best friend falls flat or to the wayside. I lived for their friendship interactions. Alex was perfect. So real. He called his best friend out on his hypocrisy and made him see just what a tool he was being and it was so funny. You could feel the love. 
  • The kids. OMG I adored them. They had such bold personalities already at that age and the things they said. Embarrassing, but spot on and so freaking cute. They brought a nurturing and beauty to the book and made you see Slade and Trina in a new light. The way they teased and took care of those kids, made them giggle…it was just light and playful in the best way.

CONS:

  • Fairly short and cuts off abruptly in some chapters. There were scenes that I would have liked to see more of, but only heard about after the fact. 
  • From the get-go the setup is too predictable. You can see what’s coming from chapter 1. The surprise was muted because the big blowout and all the drama that came with it was expected the whole time. 
  • Why Slade is such a player is glossed over. A deeper look into the heartache and unique circumstances that lead him to his playboy ways would have been helpful so that he didn’t appear like a jerk half the time. The same with Trina’s back story. The whole thing with the water. Yes, you can infer what happened, but a closer look would have made it easier to connect with her character emotionally. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Awesome reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Boyfriend Bet by Chris Cannon

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Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains multiple PDAs, after-school detentions, and gambling on the side. Warning: betting on a boyfriend is bad for your health.

Zoe Cain knows that Grant Evertide is way out of her league. So naturally, she kisses him. Out of spite. Not only is Grant her brother’s number-one nemesis, but he has zero interest in being tied down to one girl. She’s shocked—and secretly thrilled—when they start spending more time together. Non-exclusively, of course, but that doesn’t mean Zoe can’t change his mind, one PDA and after-school detention at a time.

Zoe’s brother claims Grant is trying to make her his “Ringer,” an oh-so-charming tradition where a popular guy dates a non-popular girl until he hooks up with her, then dumps her. Zoe threatens to neuter Grant with hedge clippers if he’s lying but Grant swears he isn’t trying to trick her. Still, that doesn’t mean Grant is the commitment type—even if winning a bet is on the line.

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Entangled Crush

PROS:

  • Zoe is confident, brave, and a spitfire. She loves baking and shotguns. She lives on a farm, and doesn’t take abuse from anyone. She stands up for herself no matter what and always has a mind of silly revenge. Her voice is strong, she’ll pull you in and make you listen. She’s such a tease, she’s constantly keeping Grant on his toes so that it’s always an adventure. What I adored about Zoe is that she puts herself out there. She wants something and she goes out to get it, with very little thought. She’s a girl of action. That first scene is perfect. But at the same time, Zoe has those pestering thoughts that every girl in a new relationship goes through-am I being too clingy, should I try harder on my look, is he going to judge me for where I live or that I like to crochet? These thoughts can drive a girl wild, they do, and they add a very real uncertainty to Zoe’s character. You see that she’s not always confident and that’s okay.
  • Zoe and Delia are hilarious together. Their friendship is built on artistic ventures, mutual love for pranks, and a fierce sisterhood bond. Their banter is engaging and a wonderful blend of playful and threatening. Their scenes are always special. Sometimes friendship falls to the wayside in contemporaries and you kind of forget about the best friend, but Delia’s presence is bold and brilliant. I’d love to read her book!
  • Aiden and Delia ❤ A true tale of opposites attract. I was crazy invested in their on/off flirting. Other secondary characters were also intriguing. Zoe’s grandma. That woman. She’s funny and feisty. She shoots guns and makes threats. She’s a thunderous little lady. Her scenes, though fairly short are always a laugh and occasionally a bit pervy. 

CONS:

  • This book is SO SHORT. It goes by super fast and suddenly it’s over and you wonder what really happened. It cuts off at a good point, but I was left feeling like it should have been taken a little further, that the story was unfinished and rushed. 
  • There are a whole lot of insulting, sexist male characters and that catty jealous ex. The way Jack treats his sister, that one creeper all over Zoe…ugh. Jack puts Zoe down all the time, and while brothers (trust me, I have one, I know) are a little mean sometimes and say harsh things without really seeing you as a girl, how could he not understand the hurt coming out of his mouth? At least he was somewhat redeemable though. You could feel the sibling love through every barbed word, though it wasn’t exactly healthy. 
  • Grant. I was not sold on him. No way. Sure he’s sexy and knows how to flirt. But depth? Grant sees women one way. He knows what he wants, it’s not serious, and he completely disregards feelings until he’s scrambling to fix it with another ridiculous promise that he may or may not make good on. He does make some concessions and changes, but they’re so miniscule it’s like tiptoeing. Even at the end, I still wasn’t quite sure why Zoe put up with it or what she saw in him. 

auth2085c-chris

Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures and snarky contemporary romance.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Happy reading, 

Jordan