December 24, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Author:  Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Harlequin
Category:  Adult Fiction

Payback is a Bitch.

That’s what Keri Daniels, celebrity tabloid writer par excellence, realized after reuniting with Joe Kowalski, the reclusive best selling author whose heart she broke 20 years ago.  To keep her job she needs to get the dirt on Joe, who would only grant an exclusive interview if she goes with him on the two week annual Kowalski family vacation of Doom, which means no cellphone, no computer, lots of bug bites, pesky children and Terry, Joe’s twin sister and Keri’s former best friend who loathes her to death. 
Quitting the trip is impossible because as per contract (yes Joe actually drafts a contract), Keri can only ask one question for every day that she stays with him.  so she goes and gets reacquainted with the entire family plus plus.  And falls back in love with the same man whom she only left in college for dreams that still hadn’t entirely come true.  But eventually the same problems arise.   Keri needs to finally figure out if her happiness is in California with her job or with her first love Joe Kowalski.

I loved Joe and Keri.  They are such fun characters to read.  the situations they get into are laugh out loud funny.   add to that the entire Kowalski family which is full of crazy yet full of love. I like Joe’s twin Terry.  she can be annoying in wanting to stop Keri and Joe from getting back together (which makes you root for them more) but you know she’s coming from a good place having been the rejected former BFF of Keri. Exclusively Yours is un-put-downable as every page leaves you asking: will they or won’t they?.     Eventually happiness finds them all… except one…. which brings us to the sequel.  UNDENIABLY YOURS, the story of Kevin, Joe’s younger brother.

Shannon Stacey reminds me of author Kristan Higgins in that her characters are funny, witty, memorable and easily relatable.  Though when it comes to the sexy moments, Stacey adds more fire and leaves you wanting.  She brings new excitement to contemporary romance.  Suffice it to say I highly recommend this book for your enjoyment.   

December 07, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: DON'T YOU WISH by Roxanne St. Claire

Author: Roxanne St. Claire
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Category:  Young Adult Fiction
Due Out:  July 10, 2012

Annie Nutter is an "Invisible".  A social outcast and perennial bag stopper (meaning people's bags stop moving when they hit her head).  With only one friend in school, Annie is unhappy.  Her social status is non-existent as well as her lovelife.  The only notable part of this is when the hottest boy in school asks her out for homecoming.....just so his dog has a "date".  
Her mother on the other hand is depressed.  Seeing her now multi-billionaire ex-boyfriend on a major magazine made her doubt whether she truly married the right man....which makes Annie think.... What if she's the rich man's daughter instead of her current failed inventor father?

Then one night her father's invention accidentally transports her into a parallel universe where she is finally all she wished to be.

She becomes Ayla Monroe.  Otherwise known as A-List Ayla.  The most beautiful, rich, envied girl in school.  The Queen Bee.  
Annie is happy being Ayla.  Finally she has everything she wanted....or does she?

Her friends are drug users who steal for fun,  her boyfriend Ryder pressures her constantly to have sex, her father is never there, her mother (even in this universe) is depressed and her brother hates her.  
Then she meets Charlie.  An outcast.  A former homeless boy who's in school on scholarship.  Naturally everyone hates him and is a victim of constant bullying.  
But there is something about him that draws Ayla close and to everyone's horror, they fall in love.  But love is never easy, especially when you are not yourself.  So with Charlie's help, Ayla tries to go home, back to where she belongs...back to where Charlie can not follow....unless.....

I love, love, love this book. 
Yes the plot has been used many times before, but the writing, the mapping out of characters is just so good. 
Annie is easily relatable.  Who among us hasn't felt the need to be accepted? Wanted? Loved?.  I also appreciate her misery at seemingly having everything yet also nothing because truly money can only go so far and in the end, it is still love and friendship that makes us  who we are.  
Now Charlie is a sweet one.  He is the underdog who we want to root for and maybe fall in love with.  A mature boy with a good heart who loves the Annie in Ayla, with or without the pretty package.

I recommend this book to teens everywhere, especially those who have been, or are currently part of, the "Invisibles".  This is a reminder that though life on the other side seems perfect, it probably isn't.  And that what we have might just be better after all.