A Gathering of Shadows Review

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A Gathering of Shadows (Darker Shades of Magic, Book 2) by V.E. Schwab

Synopsis: It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

About the Author: V. E. SCHWAB’s first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels, including the acclaimed The Near Witch, along with writing Middle Grade for Scholastic. The Independent calls Schwab “the natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and someone who has “an enviable, almost Gaiman-esque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”

Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance, action

More Info: paperback, 512 pages, published by Tor Books on February 23, 2016

4.5

Partial Spoilers

I could barely form words for my review of A Darker Shade of Magic. I can’t guarantee that this will be any better, but I’ll give it a shot.

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There really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this book. The only reason I gave A Gathering of Shadows 4.5/5 stars is becuase it all seemed like filler. It is mostly character driven. There is a foreboding threat on the horizon, as White London and Black London come back to bite Red London in the butt. This book builds beautifully, but ends with a tense cliffhanger. (Be warned: You might want to keep A Conjuring of Light on hand, ready to read.) I’d compare this series to the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The first movie could stand alone. And the second and third movies are drawn out and connected.

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That being said, the main plot point in part 1 (AGOS) is the Essen Tach or Element Games. The championship is meant for entertainment, while the top magicians battle their way to the top. As an international competition, the Essen Tach also function as a political statement. With all of the importance hanging over his head, Rhy is the one to organize the games. … However, Rhy is not the only one involved; Alucard, Kell, and Lila all enter as contestants . . . although not all of them get involved through “legal” ways.

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Kell and Lila and Rhy, oh my! I loved learning more about my favorite characters. Kell is restless. He’s always working off steam. He feels like a prisoner in his own home. He feels alienated from the King and Queen. And he can’t stop thinking about a certain cross-dressing pirate from Grey London. Said knife-wielding Delilah Bard has spent some time at sea. She’s slowly trying to earn the respect of the crew. She’s also been learning magic from her Captain. She is determined to develop elemental abilities and she pushes herself to every limit. For all her fierceness, her vulnerability gave her a new dimension. And poor, charming Rhy. The darling of Red London has a lot to live up to, with his father letting him run the Element Games. But after dying and coming back to life in A Darker Shade of Magic, he’s having major psychological issues.

Alucard Emery! 😍 This pirate, *clears throat* I mean privateer, joins the team. He’s a Captain by choice and a Lord by circumstance. We get to see parts of Alucard’s backstory, some of which is presented through his interactions with his family. I liked seeing his brother and sister because it made him more developed, but there may have been too much of a focus on the Emery household. I felt like there were three sides to Alucard: the pirate, the lord, and the lover. I both respected Alucard for his present actions, and felt regret for Alucard’s past actions and the consequences.

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Oh, the ships! (Both of water and people.) While this book does not focus on romance, relationships are formed. They are slow-burning and perfect. I was filled with tension, just waiting for the moment when Kell and Lila met again after four long months. And now Rhy has a new love interest, the infamous Alucard Emery! I wasn’t expecting this pairing, especially after Alucard hit on Lila, but I am totally behind it. I enjoyed seeing the expansion between Kell’s relationship with his “brother,” Rhy. Their support for one another only grows, despite their issues. The other non-romantic anti-relationship that caught my attention was the  animosity between Kell and Alucard. I loved Kell’s protectiveness for Rhy, but I felt for Alucard at the same time. I wondered where the tension came from up until it was revealed.

I enjoyed this book, despite the lack of serious conflict. You get to see more of the characters and their motivations, so the character development is on point. This world is perfect and I was excited to see more of Red London. The various competitors and their appearances shed light on the other territories in Kell’s world. For example, I thought it was so unique that one of the groups from another country had Jewels in their skin. The writing is beautiful and the novel is perfect. If you haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic, yet . . . then what are you waiting for?

A Gathering of Shadows by @veschwab and Kell's game board. ⚪🔴⚫ In A Darker Shade of Magic, readers hear about the children's toy Kell brings to Grey London. If one has an affinity for magic, they should be able to move some of the elements in the box. Only Antari with strong magic, like Kell, can control them all… including bone. In A Gathering of Shadows, Lila discovers her own ability to manipulate elements. 🍃 If I lived in Red London, I would be able to wield air and/or earth. ❔ Which elements would you associate with if you lived in Kell's world? ☠️🌍💧💨🔥 #YAbook #bookstagram #bookblogger #bookblog #PoreOverthePages #bookreview #ADarkerShadeofMagic #AGatheringofShadows #ShadesofMagicSeries

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Which Cover Wednesday

Which Cover Wednesday

Which Cover Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sumaya @ Sue’s Reading Corner where participants show different covers of the same book and decide which one they like best.

I just finished by review for Cinder & Ella. When I bought the book and later looked on goodreads, the covers were not the same. So, here is my next Which Cover Wednesday:

Cinder & Ella: Old vs New

I’m going to have to go with the new cover for this one. The revamp matches the cover for the second book. The old cover is over-simplistic and cliché. I also don’t like covers that have faces on them. Personally, if this book hadn’t been recommended to me and it hadn’t had this cover change, I would not have bought this book. Usually, I do judge a book by it’s cover, unless I know the author or story beforehand.

 

Which cover do you like better?

Cinder & Ella Review

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Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella, Book 1) by Kelly Oram

Synopsis: It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.
Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

About the Author: Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Genre: young adult, romance, contemporary

More Info: Kindle edition, 322 pages, published by Bluefields on October 1, 2014

5

Ellamara was named after a priestess from the Cinder Chronicles by L.P. Morgan, her mother’s favorite book series. Ella adopts the books herself and becomes a reader with her own blog. She lives with her single mother, and while they live modestly, Ella has many amazing memories, such as author pictures and signatures. Her birthday is a big production; when she turns 18, her mom takes her out of school and they head for the spa. But in the middle of a winter storm, they get into a car crash.

When Ella wakes up from a coma, she is in the presence of her long-lost father. She has missed her mother’s funeral. Most of her things are gone. And Ella has burn scars that cover over 70% of her body. She now walks with a limp and a cane—and it’s a miracle she can move at all. Then, she is taken from Boston to LA, where she is given a handicapped room with a view. Her new life also comes with a supermodel step-mother and twin step-sisters.

She is scorned by her family, tormented at her new school, and haunted by her own thoughts. When she reconnects with her old internet friend, things get better. They move their friendship forward, but the ultimate test of their relationship has yet to come. At the same time, Ella must learn to adapt to her new body, mental health, and environment.

 

I have so much to say about this book, so here I go!

Veronika (The Regal Critiques) recommended this book to me. When I read the synopsis, it reminded me of a recent book I had read: When It’s Real by Erin Watt (review). While When It’s Real was light, Cinder & Ella was heavy. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed and smiled throughout this book, but there was some hefty content.

At her new private school, Ella is the victim of relentless, over-the-top bullying. The bullying was cliché and almost over-excessive; but I’m afraid that such harsh words and actions might actually be a possible reaction in the real world.

That being said, Ella is not your typical, beautiful, white heroine. First off, she is half-caucasian, half-Chilean. She expresses her spanish identity with her mother; but since that timeline is confined to the prologue and brief mentions, I wish there were more about her mixed heritage apart from the food. Now, she has a lot of scars, a pronounced limp, and a cane. Ella also struggles with mental issues in addition to physical ones. She has depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal tendencies. Yet, Ella so is brave and strong. For example, I would be speechless in the face of my favorite author or actor, but here is Ella demanding that the actor playing the main character of The Druid Prince read the book. She fights for her opinions, and the person she (playfully) argues with the most, is Cinder.

Cinder is an online friend Ella met through her blog. He is a mysterious, but friendly persona who lives across the country, until Ella is brought to California. What readers know, that Ella doesn’t, is that Cinder is in fact Brian Oliver, a famous actor. They have been talking for over three years. When, Cinder doesn’t hear from Ella after her accident, so he thinks she is dead. He goes on a downward spiral, until he finally receives an email months later. His whole world flips upside down, and you can tell he really cares for Ella despite the supposed distance between them. For most of the first book, I assumed Cinder/Brian was in his teens. He acted like a spoiled brat, like an entitled child, apart from his devotion to Ella. This does match society’s view of him, with a bad reputation as a teen who’s not serious about his career. But, when I learned that he was supposed to be 22 years old, I was stunned; the age did not fit my perception of Brian. Otherwise, I wish I had seen Brian interact with more people to reveal his personality further.

Ella’s other friend is Vivian. Vivian is the other outcast at school, with red and white streaked hair, violet contacts, and two dads. While she doesn’t have a lot in common with Ella, they click instantly. Vivian doesn’t care about Ella’s deformations, and neither do her fathers. As costume designers, the two gay men make Ella feel beautiful in their home-made dresses. I just love Vivian and her dads. They are an amazing addition to the story and to Ella’s life.

For the rest of the characters, i.e. Ella’s new family, I was back and forth. I sympathized with Ella as the main character, but I occasionally saw the other side. Their actions and words were not always black and white. The characters were so real and flawed. The main thing I have to say for Jennifer, parallels Ella’s assessment: she’s insensitive. Ella’s dad is a conundrum. He obviously has hidden resentment toward his daughter, but he welcomes her into his home. He is over-protective, but doesn’t accept Ella’s own judgement. Anastasia is rude and ruins even the best of times.

Then there is the other twin, Juliette. In the beginning, she was nowhere near as bad as Anastasia. She ignored Ella for the most part. Later, her morals kick in and she acts out for Ella. It’s a bumpy transition, but I loved Juliette’s character arc/development.

The writing was easy to follow, although many of the plot points and character traits are revealed through dialogue. I can’t say I was disappointed; in over-descriptive books I tend to skim over the narration and skip to the talking. And there were many amazing details. Having said that, this book could have used more description. There were times when I couldn’t picture the setting and paint a mental picture of the scene.

One of the positives about this book was the talk about mental health. It was expressed in a straightforward manner. There is a stigma about mental health, so I was happy to see Ella’s sessions with Dr. Parish. Ella may have felt alone in the beginning, but even then she had her hospital team. When she was told to build her support system, Ella contacted Cinder. The best thing about her friendship (infatuation?) was its effect. Yes, her funny friend changed her with smiles, laughs, and normalcy. However, it was not “love conquers all.” Ella still struggles with her appearance and motivation.

The ending was so cute. Personally, I was content with the finale. When I found out there was a book 2, I was happy to be privy to more of Ella and Brian’s forming relationship. I was so excited, that I actually binge read both books within 24 hours. Oops. 😊

Buy it here:

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When Dimple Met Rishi Review

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Synopsis: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

About the Author: Sandhya Menon is the author of When Dimple Met Rishi. She was born and raised in India on a steady diet of Bollywood movies and street food, and blames this upbringing for her obsession with happily-ever-afters, bad dance moves, and pani puri. Now she lives in Colorado, where she’s on a mission to (gently) coerce her husband and children watch all 3,220 Bollywood movies she claims as her favorite. Visit her online at SandhyaMenon.com.

Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance

More Info: Kindle edition, 380 pages, published by Simon Pulse on May 30, 2017

4.5

When Dimple Met Rishi is a book that follows . . . you guessed it, Dimple and Rishi.

Dimple is a school/career focused, Indian-American, who loves coding. She doesn’t see eye to eye with her mother’s view on marriage. And she wants to experience life on her own. So, she is heading to Stanford at the end of the summer. But with weeks still ahead of her before she goes to college, she discovers Insomnia Con 2017 and immediately wants to go. When she finds out that the winning prize may include a concept critique with Jenny Lindt, her web development idol, she pleads with her parents let her go to the summer camp. She is skeptical when her parents agree, but takes their compliance and runs with it.

In San Francisco, Dimple meets her roommate . . . and her mother’s pick for her “Ideal Indian Husband.”

Rishi is a hopeless romantic. He goes to Insomnia Con ready to meet his life partner through an arranged marriage set up by his parents. He believes Dimple knows about the arrangement. But she doesn’t, so things go seriously wrong.

“Hello, future wife,” he said, his voice bubbling with glee. “I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!”

Dimple stared at him for the longest minute. The only word her brain was capable of producing, in various tonal permutations was: What? What?

Dimple didn’t know what to think. Serial killer? Loony bin escapee? Strangely congenial mugger? Nothing made sense. So she did the only thing she could think to do in the moment—she flung her iced coffee at him and ran the other way.

They end up partnered together to work on the project for the competition. With Dimple’s idea and Rishi’s art, they attempt to make a great app to help people with medical problems, like her father’s diabetes and his inability to keep up with the changes to his prescriptions. They bond over meals, hard work, dancing, and fun. They challenge each other and fall in love despite Dimple’s vehemence not to commit to a serious relationship.

 

This book is amazing. I was smiling and laughing at various points. This novel just made me so happy. I laughed out loud at the scene where they first met (see above). I grinned at the description of Rishi fan(boy)ing for his favorite comic book artist. I’m pretty sure if I met some of my favorite authors, I would be incapable of speech as well. It was such a perfect and relatable moment.

That being said, I can see myself in so many aspects of the main characters. Like Rishi, I regularly call my parents to check in and talk about my day/problems. Dimple allowing Rishi to stay and be her partner out of guilt for her harsh treatment. I feel guilty a lot, sometimes for no reason at all, and can relate to worrying about human interaction. Also like Dimple, I get obsessive over my work. I’m a perfectionist at heart and want the end result to be perfect.

Despite my perfectionist philosophy, I enjoyed Dimple’s flaws. They are what make her so real and personable. There was some controversy over Dimple throwing coffee on Rishi, but I think her reaction was somewhat practical. I also enjoyed Dimple’s dedication to learning and education.

I wouldn’t mind me a Rishi Patel. As a student myself, I related to Rishi’s struggle of finding a career that is stable VS enjoyable. He is so attentive and considerate. The “date” that he takes Dimple on was so thoughtful and so perfect. He is down to earth too. Despite Rishi’s parents being rich, Rishi is not snobby. This is shown directly by the difference between Rishi and Celia’s friends.

Speaking of Celia, she was a good addition to character list. Her relationship with Ashish, Rishi’s younger brother, is like a story within a story.

Another interesting, albeit less mentioned, character is Dimple’s mom. Her mom is pushy and traditional. They don’t exactly relate. Her mom wants her to wear makeup and become a wife. Dimple wants to further her education and, like most teenagers, occasionally be lazy. The progression of their relationship at the end made me content. Although they weren’t present for the whole story, I was happy to see parental representation (for both Dimple and Rishi) in YA.

The cultural representation and search for identity were amazing. All views of the Indian-American culture were presented in a straightforward manner. The traditional vs non-traditional lifestyles were also shown. There are Hindi terms flawlessly incorporated through dress and customs. Seeing Dimple’s struggle with her Indian half and Rishi’s acceptance, demonstrate the multicultural struggle to fit in and to determine self.

One of the main points in the book is the dismissal and stereotyping of the rich, white people. While the “Amberzombies” do function to show aspects of the main characters’ personalities, the plot could have gone is so many different ways. I think Cait says it best in her review: A Page With a View: When Dimple Met Rishi Review. I was uncomfortable with the party scene when Dimple pressures Rishi to drink. Yes, peer pressure is real, and that scene shows how there can be a potential for danger through Rishi’s hesitation.

This is an amazing, diverse, fluffy contemporary book. However, I wish there was more about the coding and app development. But the pieces of plot match up nicely. The dual POVs made the story fresh, although I had a hard time distinguishing between their voice once or twice. The ending was somewhat cliché, but it brought the story full circle in an adorable fashion.

Buy it here:

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Rapid Fire Book Tag

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I haven’t done a book tag in a long while, so I found the Rapid Fire Book Tag. The original was created by Girl Reading, go check it out. Here are my fast answers.


1. eBooks or physical books?

Physical. I like being able to hold a book and take pictures of them. I enjoy having an overflowing bookshelf. However, I can read faster with an eBook.

2. Paperback or hardback?

Either. Hardcovers look great, and I like paperbacks because they are cheaper (But I hate it when the cover/pages get bent.).

3. Online or in-store book shopping?

In-store! If I look online, I usually let reviews influence my buying . . . and I worry a bad opinion will keep me from a great YA novel.

4. Trilogies or series?

Don’t care. I only care about whether the books are good and keep my interest.

5. Heroes or villains?

Villains who become heroes. I am a sucker for bad guys who turn good and work with the protagonist for some greater purpose. I also enjoy a sexy, witty hero, like Daemon Black. 😍

6. A book you want everyone to read?

This is cliché, I know, but the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

7. Recommend an underrated book.

The Iron Butterfly by Chanda Hahn. (series review)

8. The last book you finished?

Now I Rise by Kiersten White.

9. Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?

Hair tie.

Book Problems for People with Long Hair

10. Used books, yes or no?

Sure, as long as the book is in good condition.

11. Top three favorite genres?

YA: 1) fantasy, 2) contemporary, 3) sci-fi.

12. Borrow or buy?

Buy. I love having my own books so that I may re-read them. And I don’t let other people borrow my book babies.

13. Characters or plot?

Both. It depends on the book. I’m ok with some character driven books, like And I Darken. But I like to have a plot in the books I read. If a book has both character and plot, then I am a very happy reader.

14. Long or short book?

Medium? I usually read books between about 300 – 700 pages.

15. Long or short chapters?

Both. Just like sentence variety, I believe an assortment is necessary to develop a non-monotonous voice and keep my attention.

16. Name the first three books you think of.

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  2. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  3. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

17. Books that make you laugh or cry?

Cry: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Laugh: Grey Wolves series by Quinn Loftis

18. Our world of fictional worlds?

Fictional. Our world is the perfect setting for contemporary novels, but fantasy worlds are better. I love being able to escape and visit new places. I also love seeing an author’s world-building.

19. Audiobooks: yes or no?

No.

20. Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Yes. The cover is what draws me to the book in the first place, and the synopsis determines if I will read the book.

21. Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

Whichever stays the most true to the book.

22. A movie or TV adaptation you preferred to the book?

Not Eragon!!! Not Allegiant!!!

YA Book to Movie Adaptions

23. Series or standalone?

Series. Because, whether the book is a standalone or the last in a series, I always want more.


I tag:

Anyone!

When It’s Real Review

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When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Synopsis: Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.

There’s nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star’s got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he’s settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley’s image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She’ll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there’s no telling what your heart will do…

About the Author: Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors linked together through their love of great books and an addiction to writing. They share one creative imagination. Their greatest love (after their families and pets, of course)? Coming up with fun–and sometimes crazy–ideas. Their greatest fear? Breaking up. You can contact them at their shared inbox: authorerinwatt@gmail.com

Genre: young adult, romance, contemporary

More Info: Kindle edition, 416 pages, published by Harlequin Teen on May 30, 2017

4

Vaughn is family-oriented. She strives to help her older sister and younger twin brothers, since their parents died. She is responsible, while her parents were reckless. She likes security, such as her steady boyfriend and job. Then, the ultimate opportunity presents itself for Vaughn to make a lot of money that can be used for her family and college: pretend date a pop star, Oakley Ford.

After hours of legal mumbo-jumbo, she meets the superstar. And he’s the entitled celebrity she imagined him to be. He’s lost his image and his mojo, not having released an album for many years. Now, all he wants is to be taken seriously, to make different music. His publicity team thinks Vaughn is the answer. They go on fake dates, but actually get to know one another after some time. Vaughn discovers Oakley’s secrets and he finds out her ambitions. Eventually, the gimmick becomes something real. But even true relationships still have their issues.

 

When I saw that Erin Watt was publishing a standalone book, I knew I had to have it because I was so engrossed in their Royals series.

The characters in When It’s Real were so different from the characters in the Royals books. It was a great contrast.

After reading the Royals series, this book wasn’t what I was expecting. But it was a good change. This book was directed toward young adults rather than new adults, with less explicit content. Vaughn’s sister even had a swear jar, because she doesn’t like profanity, leading to more censored language.

The plot itself—a homely girl dating rock star, how the scheme was devised, etc—was somewhat far-fetched. However, the depiction of humanity, relations, emotions, etc. were quite real. The people, their actions, and their emotions were flawed, which made the characters so relatable.

I loved Oakley’s character arc and character development. I didn’t like him at first, neither through Vaughns nor Oakley’s point of view. He changed over time, and I enjoyed seeing him change. Which was what his team wanted in the first place . . . for him to settle down. His desperation to work with King, the top record producer, made me cringe, and also find him endearing. Oakley is a man who knows what he wants and tries to get it, even through a right or wrong manner.

The chemistry between Vaughn and Oakley was great. It wasn’t necessarily a hate-to-love relationship, but it was pretty close. Their sexy back-and-forth Tweets and banter was adorable. They didn’t take any crap from one another,

Oakley’s interactions with his fans are on-spot. I would imagine, as a hot celebrity, it must be tiring to talk to every person who wants your attention. As such, I found it very believable that Oakley didn’t like to be touched. So, my favorite scene is when the young girl asks for a picture with him. She won’t touch him, so he initiates a hug. It was so cute! I’m a sucker for gentlemen. And he sings with a passion that comes through when he is relaxed.

Vaughn’s and Oakley’s interactions with the other characters, such as Vaughn’s horrible ex-boyfriend, and Oakley’s parents, made them more 3-dimensional. Overall, I was sucked into this story and emotions. There wasn’t much of a plot, and what existed of plot was light and fluffy. This a great summer read, filled with a dreamy romance, a cliché plot, and realistic characters.

Buy it here:

amazon

 

 

Barnes-and-Noble

Which Cover Wednesday

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Which Cover Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sumaya @ Sue’s Reading Corner where participants show different covers of the same book and decide which one they like best.

And I Darken: UK vs US

 

I prefer the US version. I think the UK cover is fierce and represents Lada’s spirit very well. However, the the face on the cover does not match how I personally picture ugly Lada. On the other hand, the US cover is more simple. It also reminds me of the contrast between Lada and Radu.

 

Now I Rise: UK vs US

 

US cover wins again! The face in the UK cover is creepy. I also prefer the color scheme for the US cover, with the lighter green.

 

Which covers would you choose?