Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

The Things You Kiss Goodbye Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

My Review:

This was a very powerful and emotional story.  I loved the characters, and I felt for them when bad things happened to them.


I thought that the evolution of Bettina's relationship with Brady was very well done.  At first, he seems like such a sweet guy.  He even manages to win over her protective dad.  Then, the next year, he changes.  It is clear that he is becoming very emotionally manipulative to Bettina.  He physically hurts, but then he apologizes for it every time, telling her that he didn't mean, and that he didn't realize how much he had hurt her.  Each time this happened, I wanted her to end it with him, but she still didn't.  I could see through her perspective how trapped she felt.

I had very mixed feelings on Bampas.  I realize that he was just being overprotective, but he was protecting her from what she didn't need protected from, instead of from Brady, the boy she did need protected from.  For example, Bettina asked Bampas if she could go to a movie with a girl from school.  Bampas said that she couldn't go because it would make Brady upset if she went out with friends without him.  Of course, Bampas didn't know that Brady was abusing, but he still shouldn't think that a girl can't go out with friends without her boyfriend.  He also isn't very nice when Bettina's mom suggests that they all go to see the game that she is cheerleading at.  He says that he needs the time in his home after work.  

Cowboy was such a sweet guy.  I thought of him as more of the friend that Bettina needed than as a love interest for her, since he was quite a bit older than her.  Of course, Bettina's feelings for him do grow and change over the course of the book.  He was exactly what Bettina needing to escape from her relationship with Brady.  And, he had had some things happen to him in the past, too, so he understood what Bettina was going through.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls, #1) High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally's ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs. 

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors' publicist arranges for Van and Liam to "date" for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

My Review:

I thought this book sounded good, and I'm glad I bought it and read it, because it was really awesome.  The romance, friendship, and Hollywood stuff was all great.  I'm really excited to read the companion novel Under the Lights, about Van and Josh.


I really enjoyed the romance in this book between Ally and Liam.  Liam was such a sweet guy, and I liked how he wanted to just date Ally normally, but the TV and movie star stuff made it difficult for him.  His feelings towards acting were complex, since it wasn't something that he really wanted to do in the first place.  Then the publicity stunt of having Van and Liam date happens.  This is difficult for Ally, and we know how difficult it is for her since we are in her head.  The book also shows us that it certainly isn't easy for Liam.  He doesn't want to go on dates with his fake girlfriend when he'd rather be with his real girlfriend.  And he can't take Ally on the public dates that he'd like to go on with her, at least not without wearing a disguise.  So, the road of their relationship isn't an easy one to travel, but it is still so adorable.

Ally's family is also important to the book, which I loved.  Her dad is going through treatments for his cancer, which has a rather grim prognosis.  Ally is dealing with the difficulties of seeing him in the hospital during his treatment, and knowing that it is likely that he won't survive many more months.  Her little sister even asks her what it will be like once he dies, which isn't a question that Ally knows how to answer.  Her dad's illness is what leads her to get a job as Vanessa's assistant, since she's not going to have enough to pay for college because of all the medical bills. 

The friendship between Vanessa and Ally is very genuine and well-written.  Just because Van is a celebrity now doesn't mean that she isn't still best friends with the girl who's been her best friend since they were kids.  She really cares about Ally and wants to help her out when she needs it.  She would be willing to just give Ally money to help pay for her college, but Ally won't accept that.  So instead, she hires Ally as her assistant and then recommends her to Liam as a French tutor.  Van and Ally do have some rough patches, but they know how to move on past them.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


August Releases I'm Most Excited For

August 5th:
Deadly Little Sins by Kara Taylor - I don't even know what the mystery will be in this one, but I am excited for it because I liked Prep School Confidential.

Deadly Little Sins (Prep School Confidential, #3)

August 14th:
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - I really enjoyed both Anna and Lola, so I'm looking forward to reading this one.  I'm excited that parts of it take place in Paris.

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

August 26th:
Astray by Amy Christine Parker - I liked Gated when I read it last year, so I look forward to seeing what happens next in the sequel.
Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo - This sounds like an interesting story.

Astray (Gated, #2)Six Feet Over It