Review: The Shape of My Heart (2B Trilogy #3) – Ann Aguirre

shape of my heartSome people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore. 

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves. 

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete.

Rating: 4/5

This book and I had mad chemistry. I wasn’t particularly enchanted with the first book in this trilogy – I found it a too heavy-handed and it brought nothing new to the genre, but I’m so glad I gave this one a chance!

New Adult is a problematic genre, but I really admire the fact that Ann Aguirre stayed extremely far away from the misogynistic he-man types that permeate the genre – indeed, she deliberately goes against it.

“I don’t think that’s hot. Or funny.”
“Huh?”
“Fucking a woman so hard it hurts her. The idea makes me sick, actually.” 

And while new adult books tend to have their share of traumatic events and troubled childhoods – you know how it goes – it didn’t grate on my nerves.

The main characters were fantastic – Max has a bad-boy reputation, what with the tattoos, the motorbike and the rumours of promiscuity, but he’s a great housemate, a loyal friend, a hard worker, intelligent and never trash talks the women he sleeps with.

Courtney, on the other hand, recognises her privilege and makes plans to be self sufficient, which I think is really admirable. When the shit hits the fan, as it inevitable does, she recognises her mistakes, and takes steps to fix them, before trying to get Max back. She’s also no blushing virgin, and is quite comfortable taking the (figurative) reins in the relationship.

And, for the most part, their relationship is pretty healthy in that they (barring the one significant instance) communicate their pasts, desires and concerns to each other. They support and respect each other’s work and hobbies.

As far as representation goes, Courtney is bi, and it’s awesome to see her painstakingly smashing the tired-old stereotypes:

She claimed she was in danger of a stroke when I came out as bisexual. In fact, my dad argued with me on the subject; he said that wasn’t even a thing and that I probably just wasn’t ready to admit I was gay yet – not that he wanted me to. 

&

“Yeah, it’s not because he died and I’ll never love another man, so therefore only women are left to me as romantic options.” 

Finally, the novel is suffused with humour and rational human beings (again, a rarity in this NA stuff), which makes for a fabulous read.

“No meat?” I asked.
“Seems safer this way since we’re travelling tomorrow.”
I grinned. “Your forethought is both impressive and disturbing.” 

&

“Really? I bare my heart and you eat it?”
I smacked my lips. “I was delicious, I regret nothing.”
“You’re an awful human being.”

&

“Yeah, I’m bad at this. But I’m great at sex, so that’s a win for you. All the orgasms, none of the embarrassing nicknames. Cuddle monkey. ” 

***

Free copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal: Black Iris – Leah Raeder

It’s here, book lovers! I signed up for the cover reveal for Leah Raeder’s new novel, Black Iris, and isn’t it gorgeous?

black irisYou may remember the author from her fantastic debut novel, Unteachable, and I’m so excited for her next offering.

Blurb:

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.

Extract:

April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot said, and that’s because it kills. It’s the month with the highest suicide rate. You’d think December, or even January—the holidays and all that forced cheer and agonized smiling pushing fragile people to the edge—but actually it’s spring, when the world wakes from frostbound sleep and something cruel and final stirs inside those of us who are broken. Like Eliot said: mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. In the deepest throes of depression, when sunlight is anguish and the sky throbs like one big raw migraine and you just want to sleep until you or everything else dies, you’re less likely to commit suicide than someone coming out of a depressive episode. Drug companies know this. That’s why antidepressants have to be marked with the warning MAY CAUSE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.

Because what brings you back to life also gives you the means to destroy yourself.

Preorder: 

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books-a-Million
  • IndieBound

Release Date:

28 April 2015

Review: Rebound (Boomerang #2) – Noelle August

rebound noelle august

Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of the heap in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and knocks the tech wunderkind down, throwing his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.

Three years ago, Adam married his high school love—and then lost her in a tragic accident. Now, the heartbreak and guilt he’s tried to bury with work and women begins to take over his life.

Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. She’s got one chance to prove to her father that she deserves a place in his empire by grabbing control of Boomerang and taking Adam down.

But as Alison moves in on him, armed with a cadre of lawyers and accountants, she discovers there’s much more to Adam and Boomerang than meets the eye. Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? It appears so, unless Adam can forgive her for wrecking his life and trying to steal his livelihood. But Alison hopes that old adage is right. Maybe love can conquer all.

Review: 3/5

Rebound, aka #RichKidProblems2014 (kidding) was another fun instalment in the Boomerang trilogy. Let it be said that contemporary romance, particularly in the new adult genre, is not really my thing, but I adored Veronica Rossi’s previous work and wanted to continue checking out her new series offering.

The protagonists in this edition include Adam, the Boomerang boss from book 1, and Alison, Ethan’s ex-girlfriend. While there were some overdramatic moments in the book, what I really enjoyed was the personal development of the characters – they grow, they learn to trust, they let go of things from the past holding them back.

New Adult has a fairly terrible and well-deserved rap, but Rebound manages to steer wonderfully away from too many cliches – the bad boy, the overly aggressive alpha male, the bitchy female competition, etc. In fact, I really liked how Mia and Alison got on in this book. There was no cattiness or mean spiritedness – just some awkwardness and acceptance and respect.

For those who have read the first book, you’ll know that Alison cheated on Ethan back in the day, which is what ended the relationship.  And cheating is generally an unforgivable issue, but I’m more lenient towards those who make mistakes when they’re young and learn from it, as opposed to being in their thirties and still doing it.

For those of you who love contemporary romance books, then give this series a go – it’s fun, bright and glamorous, without becoming overly emotional or too insipid.