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Single Sundays: Chancing on You by Melinda Ellen

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Chancing on You (from Goodreads):
Hope Andrews has been trying to find her place in the world for the past seventeen years, but being an orphan and getting shipped from home to home hasn’t always made it easy. Between her current foster carers who are to busy getting high to the bullies at school who make her life hell, Hope finds solitude in her music. She’s silently counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can finally make her escape once and for all, but what she doesn’t count on is the new guy Jaxon Broad turning her plans upside down.

After leaving the city behind which was tainted with his past, Jaxon moved to live with his brother. He needed to escape the memories that haunted his dreams and swore him off relationships. So when he lays eyes on the intriguing brunette Hope, he’s not prepared for the feelings that keep stirring within.

But will their second chance at happiness be destroyed when their pasts won’t let them go?

breakdown

Author: Melinda Ellen
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2014
Source & Format: Provided by Author–eBook

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This was the second book I received from my New Adult Goodread’s Group’s Read2Review program. I picked it because it promised to have characters with great back stories and some steamy sexual tension…and I wasn’t disappointed!

The Plot:

I was immediately hooked into this story. There was a great balance between the romance and personal growth of each lead and it moved at the perfect pace. While I’ve read characters with similar situations, I never got bored with this story. Sure, I got annoyed at your typical “assuming” situations but hey, that’s the joy of reading a contemporary romance 😉 I never felt like there was too much going on but there was definitely enough to keep things moving.

This is one of those New Adult stories that takes place in high school so that is important to note but I would definitely classify it as New Adult. However, you still have your typical high school drama situations, like the “super popular” chick flirting with the lead, etc. But I felt like the character development and the main situations they find themselves in were quite mature so that balanced everything out.

The Characters:

I enjoyed watching Hope and Jaxon develop not only their romantic relationship, but their personal growth as well. I really grew to like these two as individuals, even if they did frustrate me at times with their “assumptions”.

I found the secondary characters were slightly cliched but most secondary characters are. They did their job supporting the plot but not getting in the way or becoming the focus when they shouldn’t. Great character execution.

The Romance:

If you love sexual tension like I do, you will like this book! I thought there was great chemistry between Hope and Jaxon even when I wasn’t totally sold on them being together emotionally. I just felt like they really hadn’t interacted more than appreciating each other’s bodies when they first start having deeper feelings. I’m not denying the importance of physical chemistry, I’m just saying I didn’t totally understand where these feelings were coming from immediately based on the limited interaction they had. But that definitely improved as the story continued and I saw them interact more. I definitely became a fan as I continued to read–and as I said, their chemistry was great.

I do have to say though that the romance was often very cheesy and it kind-of took away from the realistic edge of this book. Some of the lines Jaxon said had me rolling my eyes but they  really weren’t that common when all was said and done.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

If you want a New Adult read that straddles the line between realistic and dramatic, this is the one for you! It definitely deals with some very real themes but at the same time it does have a dramatic flare with the high school drama. I will definitely be looking out for more of Melinda’s books in the future!

Read if You Like: hate to love you relationships, jaded characters, high school new adult stories
Avoid if You: don’t like high school drama, don’t like communication assumption situations

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Series Review: Summer Tour by Diane Matlick

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Summer Tour by Diane Matlick | Summer Tour Series

Synopsis for Summer Tour (from Goodreads):
Take a journey with a group of friends…

Ben has always had it bad for his childhood friend Anna, but after years of unrequited pining, he’s officially done with her. It’s the summer before he and his best friends graduate college and they are about to go on tour, following their favorite band all over the east coast. This group is like a family—extremely close but with their fair share of old wounds and hidden secrets…

Anna figured out at a young age not to rely on anyone and she has always done whatever necessary to get by. She has carefully constructed her life—keeping herself isolated to stay focused and avoid getting hurt. But everyone has vulnerabilities and even the strongest willed have their breaking point…

Ryan is buried in stress at work, so when his friend suggests a night out, he reluctantly agrees. But what starts off as a typical night in a strip club just outside New York City, ends in an encounter that will change everyone’s lives…

breakdown

Series: Summer Tour Series
Author: Diane Matlick
# of Books: 3 (Summer Tour, Winter Break, Book 3)
Book Order: Chronological but connected
Complete?: Yes?
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 2014 – unknown
Source & Format: Provided by author–eBook

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I recently joined a New Adult review group on Goodreads and they run a Read2Review program where you can sign up to read NA books that have been provided by the author.

I picked Summer Tour because I wanted to read a book with multiple perspectives. I also thought it would be fun to hear about a group of friends following their favourite band when they are on tour.

What Didn’t Work: 

-The Drug Usage-

I’m not a huge fan of having drug references in my novels. I can deal with leads that have a drug addictions and the like but reading about people taking drugs recreationally isn’t my idea of a good time. Call me a prude but I really don’t like the message it promotes—even if it is “just marijuana”.

-The Character’s Pasts-

These characters have intense, drama filled pasts which is what I was expecting, it just seemed way over the top. The drama reminds me a lot of the later Gossip Girl books where friends are sleeping with friends and giving into various substances.  These people are complex but I think they are too complex. They just had so much drama in their lives that it was a little overwhelming. While there was some great character development and growth, I think the impact would have been more apparent if each character only had one or two issues instead of 3+.

-The Romance-

Because the first quarter of the book focuses on Ryan and his role in the story–which is important but went on for far too long when the point could have been proven in one or two chapters–I felt like not enough time was given to develop Ben and Anna’s relationship and discuss their past together. Their relationship didn’t develop enough for me and by introducing the romances of all their friends, it got overwhelming and distracted from Anna’s story.

What Worked:

-The Friendships-

I love reading about groups of friends and all the drama associated with that. Their lives are so woven together that they have so many different layers to their relationships. I think if this had been better executed (for example only give Anna and Ben POV for this book and then do the next book about two other characters) it would have been great!

-Personal Growth-

All of the characters had great growth throughout the novel despite their many issues. So while the romance wasn’t as strong as what I wanted it to be, I appreciated the independent development of the characters.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While this novel can be read as a standalone, the preview I had at the end of this book indicated that there is more in store for this cast of characters. There was an interesting relationship development (though I wouldn’t have developed it as much as it was–I would have saved it for the sequel) at the end of Summer Tour that has piqued my interest so I will probably check out the second novel but not right away.

updates

–December 3, 2015– Book 2: Winter Break

I have to say that Winter Break was a huge improvement over Summer Tour!

Everything that I didn’t really like in the first book was toned down (ie the drugs and the drama). It’s still there but I didn’t find it to be overwhelming or the only thing the characters seemed to do. The focus moved to each pair working on themselves and their relationship. The result is stronger characters (better rounded and more developed) and great character growth. It was much more enjoyable to read in that respect because I was starting to understand each individual character and not their projected personalities.

I also liked the plot. It was more obvious to me and I liked that there was a set path or course to follow. And I honestly didn’t see how everything linked together until the very end so I really liked that!

I’m curious to see who the spin-off is about but I feel like I have a good idea (or perhaps some hopes).

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This book (Summer Tour) had a great concept but a messy execution. I think if it focused more on a few things (like it’s sequel, Winter Break) and not on introducing so many different elements it would have been a great New Adult read.

Read if You Like: friend drama, complex characters
Avoid if You: don’t like books with drug references, don’t like drama

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