Review: My Roommate’s Girl by Julianna Keyes

My Roommate’s Girl
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: June 12, 2017
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The day a judge gave me the choice between going to prison or going to college was the day I vowed to stop stealing. Never again would I see something beautiful and beyond my means and take it, just because I wanted it. Just because I could.

When I moved in with Jerry, it was with good intentions. I needed a place to live while I got my degree, and he needed a roommate.

Then I saw Aster.

Blond and beautiful, good, pure, sweet, smart…and Jerry’s girlfriend. She was everything I never thought I could have. Except…maybe I can.

So I put a plan into action. Yeah, I’d probably go to hell, but it would be worth it. I wanted Aster. I wanted her yesterday and tomorrow and every possible way.

But you know what they say.

Be careful what you wish for…because you just might get it.


Julianna Keyes is an author I’ve come to love this year. I became a fan of her writing after reading her Burnham College series. I was very excited to get to read her new release, My Roommate’s Girl. From the title, I could tell this was going to be one of those books that was going to have some uncomfortable moments, but I had faith that Keyes could make me fall in love with her story.

I didn’t immediately fall in love with My Roommate’s Girl. It wasn’t the dreaded love triangle that kept me from it. It was the main character, Aiden Shaw. His cocky, tough guy talk didn’t endear him to me. He seemed really scuzzy and I didn’t like his tactics. I think my biggest problem was that his motives weren’t good. Everything was based on his lust. It wasn’t until he and Aster truly started to form a friendship that I could see the good in Aiden, and appreciate him. There was more to him than I thought, and it took until half way through the book to understand that. I wish it would have happened earlier.

Aster wasn’t what I expected at all. I was pleasantly surprised by her when her point of view finally showed up. She was more than the princess Aiden described her to be. I loved her back story and how it affected her feelings for Aiden.

Aster and Aiden had a very unique connection. Their similarities tied them together in a special way. It enhanced their already sizzling chemistry. The more they discovered about each other, the more I liked the story. I wish more time had been spent within their relationship. There was so much build up to it. I only got to experience their relationship for what felt like a minute before a conflict started to ruin things. I wasn’t a fan of the conflict, so that time in the book frustrated me. It did lead a super cute ending, though.

I probably would have given My Roommate’s Girl a higher rating if I had immediately connected with the characters. I liked them, but I never really got the chance to love them. The book was still a lot of fun to read and it was incredibly fast-paced. If you’re looking for a college romance that isn’t centered around sports or normal college students, I would recommend My Roommate’s Girl. It’s different from any college romance I’ve read.

Review: Fallen Fourth Down by Tijan

Fallen Fourth Down
Series: Fallen Crest High, #4
Author: Tijan
Narrators:  Saskia Maarleveld, Graham Halstead
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

My mother tried to destroy me. She doesn’t exist to me anymore and my father, the one who raised me and the biological one, are both works in progress. The only two people that I can trust are Mason and Logan, and they’re the two people who I could lose. It won’t happen. I won’t let it. No matter the truth, no matter who loves me, I won’t let anything or anyone come between us.
They’re my world. They’re my life.
They’re my family.


Surprise! (Not really.) I’m back with another Fallen Crest High audiobook review! I’m flying through these books. I can’t help it. The story has me so committed. I need to hurry up and finish all of the books so I can get back to real life!

Fallen Fourth Down was a weird transition book. Sam’s in Fallen Crest and Mason’s three hours away at college.The distance hasn’t lessened their love for each other, but it’s made it easier to keep things from each other. Sam’s trying hide the fact that she knows Logan’s in love with her. Avoiding the awkward conversations has made her tension and she hates keeping things from both of her boys. Mason’s keeping things to himself to avoid feeding Sam’s fears. They’re together, but living separate lives. When someone from Sam’s past ends up in Fallen Crest, things get even tougher.

Like I said, this was a weird transition book. Mason and Sam are apart most of the book, so I didn’t get to feast on their interactions. I missed them together. I love the intensity of their relationship. I guess it did make their times together that much more explosive, but I wanted more of the fearsome twosome and threesome.

Instead of basking in Sam and Mason’s relationship, I was stuck living through Sam’s fear of Logan’s love for her. There was so much uncomfortable tension between Sam and Logan. I worried a lot about how that was all going to play out. Sam was also dealing with a guy from her past who had a renewed crush on her. I really liked this part of the story. It was kind of sweet, and felt like it helped me get to know Sam before the Kades a little better. I liked the guy. That was probably because I knew he didn’t stand a chance next to the Mason Kade.

As for Mason, he was in a whole new world. His being at the bottom of the totem pole was cool. He had to prove himself for once, and I liked that. He was still Mason Kade, so he wasn’t an underling for long but it was fun to see him not in charge. I loved meeting all of Mason’s new football buddies and the camaraderie they shared. I even loved meeting Mason’s new nemesis, Park. I can tell their rivalry is going to amp up the drama of Mason and Sam’s college experience.

A couple of things surprised me in Fallen Fourth Down. One surprise was Nate. The Kade brothers’ relationship with him changed a bit, and I wasn’t expecting that. It made me a little sad, but I liked how it all ended up resolving itself. The second surprise was Marissa. I wasn’t quite expecting her to be as crazy as she was. I ended up hating her after this book.

Overall, I enjoyed Fallen Fourth Down. It did a good job answering some questions I had about both Sam and Mason’s pasts. It also finally cleared up Logan’s feelings about Sam. At times, it felt like a filler novella since Sam and Mason were apart, but it ended up doing a great job setting up things for Fallen Crest University.

Review: Fallen Crest High by Tijan

Fallen Crest High
Series: Fallen Crest High, #1
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Mason and Logan Kade are two brothers who did their own thing. They were rich and expected to attend Samantha’s school, Fallen Crest Academy. They chose public school, and now Samantha has to live with them. The problem is that she doesn’t care at all-about them, about her friends, about her cheating boyfriend, or even about her parents’ divorce. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe change is a good thing.


I have a new obsession: Tijan’s audiobooks. I can’t get enough of her writing. Listening to her books adds another dimension to the experience that I really like. I am so addicted. It’s not even funny.

The Fallen Crest High series starts out with this book (Well, unless you count the Mason novella I haven’t read yet.), and introduces the reader to Sam Stratton. Life as Sam’s known it has changed. Her parents are divorcing, and Sam has to move to her mom’s new boyfriend’s house. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s going to have some new “step” siblings: Mason and Logan Kade.

Mason and Logan may not go to Sam’s school, but she knows all about the Kade brothers. Everyone does. They’re rich, powerful and good-looking. Any girl would die to be in Sam’s position, but Sam would rather no one know about her new living situation. Sam likes her anonymity and would like to stay out of the spotlight. That’s easier said than done as the rest of Sam’s life and everything she’s always thought to be true implode.

Fallen Crest High reminds me a lot of a teenage soap opera. It could easily be a television show on a network like the CW. There was so much drama, angst, and sexual attraction going. I couldn’t wait to find out what the characters were going to do next. It was one big reveal after another in this book!

The characters in this book are perfect for this story. Sam was deeply disturbed by everything going on in her life. Things just kept getting worse and worse for her, and I just kept waiting for her to break with the “I don’t care.” attitude she had going on. I loved that the two people she thought she would detest the most were the ones who helped hold her up when she needed extra strength. I loved the “family” dynamic between Mason, Logan and Sam. It was really cool and so much fun.

Mason and Logan Kade are still a mystery to me. They’re points of view aren’t included, so I only got to know them through Sam’s eyes. I liked what I saw, but I’m really excited to read the novellas in their points of view in the future. I want to know them better. I loved Logan’s way with words. I adored Mason’s silent strength. I can understand why all those high school girls were drooling over them the entire book.

It wasn’t just the main characters who made this story so addicting. Tijan created some interesting side characters. Adam, Becky, Sam’s other friends, and the popular group all added so much drama. I loved it! I couldn’t wait to see what all the snotty characters would do next and how Sam and the boys would react. Plus, there was great stuff going on with the adults in this book. So. Much. Drama. Fun.

There were only two things that annoyed me about this book. One was Sam’s running. I know it was her coping mechanism, but three-hour runs? And her mom mentioned a past issue with Sam’s eating and running. It was never concretely addressed. Did Sam have anorexia before? Did she have it during this book? I have no clue! But she ran all the freaking time. I understood why, but it would have been nice to know more about her history with it. The second thing that bugged me wasn’t anything the author wrote. It was actually an issue I had with the narrator. Every voice she used was perfect — with the exception of Sam’s speaking voice. It went from normal to almost manly. Whenever Sam was angry she sounded like a guy. That wasn’t a huge deal because I got used to it as the book went on, but it wasn’t my favorite narration.

Fallen Crest High was so much fun to listen to. I found myself finding every excuse to keep listening. My house is now thoroughly cleaned. Our entire family’s laundry is washed, folded and put away. I can thank this book for that. Now, if the person who has the Fallen Crest Family (Fallen Crest High, #2) audiobook checked out from my Overdrive library could please return it, I would appreciate it. I need that book now!!!

Review: Broken and Screwed 2 by Tijan

Broken and Screwed 2
Series: Broken and Screwed, #2
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Jillian Macie
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Alexandra is pissed about her parents abandoning her. She’s beyond pissed that her friends did the same. She’s enraged because things are unclear about her brother’s death now. So her first stop is at Jesse’s house to demand answers. She wants to know why her brother was friends with the criminal crowd before he died and she knows he holds the answers. But when she sees him, she doesn’t get the answers she expected. Instead, she finds out that their chemistry never faded and soon heats up again! Some habits die hard. Soon Jesse and Alex are back to their ways of sneaking around. He’s a near-celebrity at school and she doesn’t want to deal with the backlash of being his girlfriend. Alex is tired of being hurt so she’s learned the lesson not to confide and lean on others. However, she can’t seem to help herself when it comes to Jesse Hunt. The big question isn’t if she will survive if their relationship goes public, it’s if she will survive when the real truths about her family and brother come out? Or when she learns that Jesse knows more than what he’s told her?


I am officially obsessed with Tijan’s writing. I couldn’t stop listening to this audio book. I found excuses to drive places, stuff to clean, and listened to it instead of music at the gym. I was beyond addicted. Broken and Screwed 2 took over my life.

Broken and Screwed 2 continued Alex’s heartbreaking tale of abandonment. She’s slowly lost everyone she’s ever cared about. She’s bitter, but she’s also ready to move on and start a new life. Alex is going to college. The same college as Jesse. And he’s going to give her the answers she needs about her brother’s death.

Only things aren’t that simple. Alex quickly falls back into her sexual relationship with Jesse, but insists on keeping it a secret. She wants to blend in at college and being seen with THE Jesse Hunt won’t help. Plus, Jesse’s still not giving Alex the answers she needs.

Being in Alex’s head was a little easier in this book than the first one. She still had all of her negative thoughts and pain, but she also made some great discoveries. I liked her more than I did in the first book. I still wanted to throttle her at times for stupid decisions she made, but I liked the growth she went through.

Jesse really redeemed himself in this book. Getting to read more of him, and see him around Alex more made it easier to imagine what he was thinking. I still would have loved his point of view, but I loved the mystery not having it gave Jesse and what he was hiding. I was surprised at what an amazing guy Jesse really was.

Luckily, Angie and Marissa weren’t around much in book 2. Their scenes were minimal, but they played a huge part in the story. I liked that they weren’t around much. Alex made some new college friends who she could be herself around. Beth and Hannah weren’t as annoying, and they added some interesting drama. Plus, there were all of Jesse’s roommates and their girlfriends. I adored those characters. They made the story so much fun. I was especially surprised to find myself liking Chord. I seriously fell in love with that jerk in this book. He was so good to Alex and also to Jesse. Chord needs his own book.

Broken and Screwed 2 was even better than the first book. I loved the college scene and all the life events Alex went through. Tijan knew exactly when to throw in the twists and turns to keep the story going. I was pleasantly surprised how the mystery surrounding Ethan’s death played out.

I’m happy I chose to read Broken and Screwed 2, even though Broken and Screwed left me feeling completely unhinged. I needed this book for Alex and for myself. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes an angst filled new adult romance. It’s well written and highly addictive.

Now, what Tijan book can I get my hands on next…

Review: Broken and Screwed by Tijan

Broken and Screwed
Series: Broken and Screwed, #1
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Jillian Macie
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

When Alexandra’s older brother dies the night of his graduation, it changes everything for her. No longer is she the party girl. No longer does she care about being popular, and no longer is her family the happy unit she always thought existed. The only person who can help her heal is the same person who loved her brother as much as she did, his best friend. She only hopes to keep her heart from breaking when Jesse moves on, and she knows he will. After Ethan dies, Jesse focuses on basketball, partying, and girls. He uses it all to turn his emotions off, but the irony is that Alex is the only person who can do that for him. She helps him forget, but she is the one person he shouldn’t be with, because the secrets he knows could shatter everything. They could shatter her.


Broken and Screwed is an accurate title for this book. Every thing about this book was so messed up, and yet, I couldn’t stop listening to it. This is the first time I’ve read a book by Tijan, but I understand why fans flock to her books. It would be hard not to fall in love with her writing. Every word she writes drips with emotion.

Broken and Screwed is told from Alex’s point of view. Since the death of her older brother, Alex has been slowly drowning. She’s not the person she used to be before. The only thing holding her together is her brother’s best friend, Jesse. The scattered hours Alex spends with Jesse are the only peace either of them have. Alex knows they don’t have a normal relationship. She knows they never will. Alex takes what she can get from Jesse, hoping that when he truly leaves her she won’t be even more broken than she already is.

This book has left me emotionally drained. The entire book was one big ball of angst. Alex was truly broken inside, and keeping up with her feelings was exhausting. I was always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel for her, but I could never see it. The only time I felt comfort for her was when she was finding comfort with Jesse. It felt so messed up because both Alex and I knew she deserved better. She just didn’t want better. It was frustrating, but I got it. Not all relationships are healthy, and sometimes the love you feel for someone overrides everything else.

I didn’t like or dislike Jesse. He had moments of greatness when he was comforting Alex, but was also a jerk. It was hard not knowing what was going on in his mind. I felt like I didn’t really get to know him, and I wanted to.

Alex’s friends were a large part of this book. I hated them. When they were in a scene, I cringed. Neither was truly a great friend to Alex. Marissa was a backstabbing (self-proclaimed) slut. Now, I’m not slut shaming. I have no problem with Marissa hitting the sheets with multiple men. What I didn’t like was the way she disregarded her friends’ feelings and went after guys they liked. She had her moments of goodness, but the bad tended to outweigh the good. And then there was Angie. In some ways, Angie was worse than Marissa. She thought she knew what was best for everyone. Maybe she did, but no one wants to have her friend constantly trying to push a guy who’s not the guy she’s in love with at them. No one wants to have her best friend trash the guy she’s in love with and tell her he’ll never love her. That’s just messed up. Angie did help Alex out in some amazing ways, but I wish she could have been supportive in the way Alex needed the most.

There are two people I hated even more than Alex’s friends: her parents. Grief is a heavy thing, but come on. Alex may have been 18, but she still lived under their roof. I didn’t get the detachment. It was so damn sad.

Broken and Screwed has left my mind in turmoil. It was addicting but uncomfortable to listen to. My heart broke over and over for Alex…and Jesse, too. I knew this book had a cliffhanger at the end, but it was an odd one. There were so many questions left at the end, and I’m in need of the answers. On to book 2.

Sorry, if this review is disjointed. That’s exactly how Broken and Screwed left me feeling.

Review: The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, GLBT+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?


I don’t even know where to start reviewing this book. There are so many things to talk about! To me, it was utter perfection. The writing was fantastic, and the characters were perfectly flawed. I loved every moment of it. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one evening, sacrificing much-needed sleep to finish it.

The Upside of Unrequited is told from Molly’s point of view in first person narration and was very easy to relate to. She’s this sweet girl (everyone confirms it) with some extra weight on her frame. That weight defines Molly. It’s hard for it not to when her twin sister, Cassie, and the rest of their friends are thin. Molly feels like she’s always in the background. She’s always the sidekick, never the one the attention is on. Guys don’t like her, they like her friends.

Cassie disagrees with Molly on this point. She thinks Molly needs to abandon her meaningless crushes and put herself out there. When Cassie falls for a new girl, she takes the opportunity to hook Molly up with her girlfriend’s best friend. The opportunity excites Molly — or at least it should. Will’s cute and funny, but Molly can’t keep her mind off her co-worker Reid.

Weight is a tough topic. Everyone has one, but rarely does anyone seem happy with theirs. I’ve been fit. I’ve been fat. I’ve been somewhere in between. At all of those stages I felt like Molly did in this book. Feeling uncomfortable with your body and knowing it affects how people see you is tough. Not letting your weight dictate how you feel about yourself and the actions you take is really hard. I think it’s especially tough for a teenager. Becky Albertalli did an amazing job conveying the thoughts and feelings Molly had. They felt truthful and real. I could identify with each and every one of them. I applaud her for the way she wrote this book.

I’ve also felt the way Molly felt about her sister trying to hook her up with Will. I remember my best friend always being in a relationship. She would try to push her boyfriend’s friends at me. It was exciting, but also uncomfortable. No one wants to be forced on a guy (or girl) just because your best friend is dating theirs. It rarely works out and is so awkward. I loved watching Molly try to navigate through the situation and discover that maybe Will wasn’t what would hold her relationship with Cassie together.

Molly’s friendship with Reid made me smile so hard. He wasn’t the super cool guy Will was, but he was cool in his own way. The way he was unapologetic about his likes was awesome. I loved how that was Molly’s favorite thing about him. It was cute how Molly’s attraction to Reid came in bits and pieces.

Another thing that struck me as true was the evolution of Cassie and Molly’s relationship as girlfriends/boyfriends entered the picture. It’s so true that the dynamic of friendships change when one or both of the people are in a relationship. It’s no longer just the friends against the world. You do kind of lose part of your relationship. The way Molly and Cassie thought about this really made me think back to my younger years and how I handled that will all of my friends. I thought this was a great topic to include in the book because this happens to everyone at some point, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it discussed anywhere.

This is really random, but I also totally got the Molly looks like everyone thing. That is so me. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told by people they know someone who looks like me. It’s cool, but strange. Once, someone even showed me a picture of their friend. We did look exactly alike and it was creepy.

I know this review has been one big ramble, but I couldn’t help it. I loved The Upside of Unrequited so much. It’s a book I think every teenager (and adult!) should read. It’s filled with so many great moments and topics. It really made me examine some of my thoughts and feelings from the past and present that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t read it.

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them – first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.


First & Then came out almost two years ago. What took me so long to read it? I don’t have a good answer, but evidently finding it for sale on Book Outlet was what finally made it happen. That’s sad because First & Then is such a great book. I loved every minute of this adorable coming of age story.

Devon is a character that just about any teenager can relate to. First, she’s got the whole avoiding the future thing down to a science. The future’s scary to think about until you can actually picture it. Second, who hasn’t crushed on a friend of the opposite sex? We always think we’re good at hiding it, but it’s never the case. Poor Devon’s crush on Cas was pretty classic. Third, who doesn’t have a relationship with their sibling where one moment they’re completely embarrassed by them and the next their standing up for them? I loved how of Devon I could see in my past self. She was such a fun main character.

Devon wasn’t the only remarkable character in First & Then. Every character was special. That’s one of the things I love most about Emma Mills’ novels. She makes the side characters shine. They all have so much personality and stand out. They become as important to the reader as the main character. My favorite Emma Mills’ character will always be Frank Sanger from This Adventure Ends, but Jordan and Foster from this book are both close runners-up. Jordan because he kind of had a Frank Sanger thing going on, and Foster because he was one of the good guys. I was going to stop there, but I can’t leave out Ezra. I loved that guy and his quiet persona.

Everything about First & Then made me happy. It was one of those YA coming of age stories that’s perfect for when you need a little sunshine in your life. I absolutely adored it and highly recommend it. It would be the perfect summer read.