Tis The Season….

For some Holiday reads! Below are a few books I enjoy reading to get me even more in the mood for Christmas. Do you like to read Holiday books? Do you have a favorite?

 

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Title: An Ex For Christmas

Author: Lauren Layne

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Blurb:

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

 

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Title: Rebound Remedy

Author: Christine D’Abo

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Blurb:

The last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped. But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.

The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.

With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.

 

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Title: Decidedly With Mistletoe

Author: Stina Lindenblatt

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Blurb:

Kissing-under-the-mistletoe rule #1: never kiss your ex-fiancée.
Oops.

Ava Versteeg’s plans for the Christmas break include: 1. Drive to Lake Tahoe, 2. Learn to ski, 3. Enjoy hot, earth-shattering sex (and end her sex drought!) and 4. Meet her Forever Love under the mistletoe. Right—the last one was her friend’s prediction, but you never know. What she doesn’t count on is a flat tire, a major blizzard, and for her ex-fiancé, the man who broke her heart ten years ago, to come to her rescue. Oh, damn.

While driving back to San Francisco, former Navy SEAL Liam Quade discovers Ava stuck on the side of the road. She’s the woman he was forced to walk away from ten years ago. And now, she’s the woman who would rather be coated with honey and fed to a hungry bear than to be within ten feet of him. Ouch.

Liam drives Ava to a nearby inn to wait out the storm…and ends up kissing her under the mistletoe. Christmas magic is in the air and Liam realizes he never stopped loving her. But as secrets from ten years ago start to unravel, Liam has to prove to Ava that he’s worth taking a second chance on. He has to prove to Ava that he’s her forever.

 

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Title: Naughty or Nice

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Blurb:

Six new holiday short stories from six New York Times Bestselling Authors.

Sexy Scrooge by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
The last thing I needed was to share an Uber with Scrooge—a cocky lawyer on a snowy Christmas Eve. It was bad enough I was on my way to court for the gift of eviction. Although maybe today wouldn’t turn out so bad after all. The Sexy Scrooge and I started to connect as we trudged our way through a storm. Our ride was about to end. But would I ever see him again?

Big Baubles by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Shannon’s last-minute Christmas shopping trip quickly goes from tedious to thrilling when she meets a sexy stranger in Harrods. He’s irresistibly cheeky, hot as sin, and he seems to want to play. So when he sets Shannon the challenge of completing her Christmas shopping before he completes his, she can’t help but accept. And she plans on winning. But the sexy stranger plays dirty on the shop floor. And even dirtier in the women’s changing rooms…

The Naughty List by Emma Chase
Evie Sanders has a secret. She’s in love with her boss, Jace Winters, the hot as hell, hardworking owner of the best bar in the snowy, ski resort town of Alpine. She thinks Jace barely knows she exists—that to him, she’s just an employee. But at this year’s Christmas party, bells get jingled, stockings get stuffed, snow—and other things—get thoroughly plowed, and Christmas wishes (even the naughty ones) just might come true.

Joyous—A Quantum Christmas by Marie Force
After a remarkable year that included a wedding and a big Oscar win for Quantum Productions, Hollywood superstar Flynn Godfrey wants to give his wife, Natalie, and closest friends a Christmas they will never forget. But when best-laid plans go awry, Flynn will learn that sometimes the season’s greatest gifts are those that can’t be bought or wrapped.

A Holiday Lift by Corinne Michaels
Holly has had enough pain around the holidays to last her lifetime. All she wants is to focus on her work. All of that becomes impossible when she’s stuck in the elevator with her co-worker Dean. She can’t avoid his intense stares, deep voice, and scent that drives her crazy. Will the holiday season bring them an unexpected lift or will they come crashing down?

Best Christmas Ever by Susan Stoker
When Chris and Sienna meet during an accident in Texas, the perfect strangers soon discover they’re inexplicably linked…in more ways than one. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or maybe the makings of their very own Christmas miracle.

 

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Title: Snow In Love

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Blurb:

What’s better than one deliciously cozy, swoon-worthy holiday story? Four of them, from some of today’s bestselling authors.

From KASIE WEST, a snowy road trip takes an unexpected detour when secrets and crushes are revealed.

From AIMEE FRIEDMAN, a Hanukkah miracle may just happen when a Jewish girl working as a department store elf finds love.

From MELISSA DE LA CRUZ, Christmas Eve gets a plot twist when a high school couple exchange surprising presents.

From NIC STONE, a scavenger hunt amid the holiday crowds at an airport turns totally romantic.

So grab a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up, and get ready to fall in love…

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ARC Review: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

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Title: The Accidentals

Author: Sarina Bowen

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4.75 Stars!!

Release Date: July 10th, 2018

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Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.
Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul. There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.

 

review

Sarina Bowen’s debut YA novel is the ultimate coming of age story about loss, forgiveness and falling in love. The Accidentals is angsty, raw, witty and swoony. It broke my heart a few times before completely stealing it from me. It begs the question: can a burned bridge ever be repaired? The Accidentals is perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Jenn Bennett, Katie McGarry and Sarah Dessen.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself that you don’t read YA, so you can’t picture yourself enjoying this one. Well, you’d be wrong, and I’ll give you NUMBER reasons why you would. 🙂

1.The plot. This isn’t a fluffy tale of a lovesick teen. In fact, while there is romance, it isn’t the main focal point of the story. Instead, we find Rachel Kress, who is struggling after the death of her mother, who raised her as a single parent. As if losing a parent isn’t hard enough, Rachel has no one else to turn to. Or so she thinks, until she in introduced to Frederick Richards, aka “Freddy Ricks”, the famous musician. He is her father, and after 17 years of being absent, he wants to help take care of her. Suddenly Rachel is living a life completely different than the one she is used to, with a man she isn’t fully sure she even wants a relationship with. Cue the overloads of feelings. Sarina used my heart as a punching bag multiple times. We also see Rachel entering her senior year at a new boarding school, dealing with a roommate, new friends, and maybe even a new love.

 

2. Rachel. I loved everything about Rachel and her journey. Rachel is mature, intelligent, talented and quirky. She struggles with the idea that she isn’t enough, and kind of views herself as a burden. The relationship with Frederick isn’t an easy one, there are many ups and downs between the two as they navigate into unfamiliar territory. It felt completely real. It wasn’t wrapped up with a pretty bow but any means, and at times Rachel’s thoughts made me want to cry. At the same time, Rachel is also dealing with friendships, feelings, and hormones. So many pesky hormones. 😉

 

3. The romance. As I mentioned before, the romance isn’t the main part of the plot. That said, there is a ton of moments that are simply adorable. Jake and Rachel first meet via email. While it it suppose to be regarding information and questions about the boarding school, a friendship slowly forms between the school. Then, when Rachel finally meets Jake in person… that friendship feels like so much more.

 

4. The Characters. Sarina is the type of author that just knows how to bring a character to life. There are so many interesting characters in this book, with their own voices, personalities, and problems. It makes for such an incredible read, and brings such life to the book. I know sometimes side characters are not as well thought out or developed as the main ones, but that is one thing you do not have to worry about.

 

5. The writing. The writing in this book is everything you’d expect from a Sarina Bowen novel. From the witty dialogue to the touching moments, it is all so well-written. Every word has a purpose. I was truly addicted from the moment I started. It feels like a bit more mature of a YA book- there are no extreme over the top characters or unnecessary drama. Everything in this book felt genuine. It made me smile, laugh, swoon, and even tear up. This book was simply wonderful. ❤

 

So please, please do yourself a favor and take a chance on this book. You won’t regret it! Here’s to hoping this isn’t the last YA Sarina graces us with. 😉

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Pre-Order The Accidentals

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

 

 

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Saturday Spotlight: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

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Title: Starry Eyes

Author: Jenn Bennett

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Release Date: April 3rd, 2018

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Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

 

 

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Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

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Title: Love, Life and The List

Author: Kasie West

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Release Date: December 26th, 2017

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blurb

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

 

 

review

Sometimes I get in the mood for some YA romance, and Kasie West is one of my go to author’s for those cravings.

Abby Turner isn’t having the easiest time. Her father is deployed and her mother’s Agoraphobia is getting worse. Her unrequited love for her best friend Cooper doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon and to top it off she was recently told that her paintings- the one thing she finds comfort in- lacks heart and emotions.

Wanting some quick life experience, Abby puts together a list of things she needs to do over the summer, hopefully to bring some growth to her paintings. With Cooper’s help, of course. The more items Abby checks off the list, the more she finds growth not only in her art, but in herself as well.

I found the sub plots (Abby’s family) in this one really interesting. My heart broke for Abby, watching her mother’s condition becoming worse and worse. I adored her close bond with her grandpa, who also lived with them. The two of them were a bit of kindred spirits. Obviously there is major character growth for many of the characters, which I really appreciated.

I thought Abby and Cooper had a really cute friendship. It felt real, with ups and downs, little bickering and mistakes, laced with some sweet moments.

My major complaint is that there are no huge swoon moments between the two until about the 93% mark. And while I enjoy a nice slow burn, in this case I’m not really sure you could call it that?

Still a cute, fast, fun read.

 

 

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ARC Review: Saving It by Monica Murphy

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Title: Saving It

Author: Monica Murphy

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 3.75 Stars

Release Date: November 6th, 2017

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blurb

Eden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that…

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing…with anyone but her.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is what happens when American Pie meets Friends with Benefits. It contains two best friends, plenty of angst, and lots and lots of sex talk. Reading this might have you looking at your best friend in a different light!

 

review

Okay, I’m a huge sucker for best-friends to lovers tropes, so I was super excited when I read about this plot. Especially with Monica Murphy being the author. Saving It was sweet, funny, charming and low on the angst.  The type of book that makes you smile and gives an insta case of nostalgia.

One of my favorite things about this book was that it was sex positive, which isn’t always the case with books aimed for the YA crowd. I think the way Murphy handled the topic was perfection!

Both Josh and Eden were well-written. The friendship between the two felt authentic and when things start to blossom between the two it was extremely natural. I enjoyed how she portrayed the confusion, nerves and emotions that start to take over them as they discover their feelings for each other. I just wish there was a little more umph to it.

I particularly enjoyed Josh’s POV, as he had a really strong voice and personality to his character. I really feel that Murphy is a genius when it comes to writing from the male point of view.

I also like Eden’s character- she was both beautiful and intelligent, and had more on her mind other than boys- but I felt like something was lacking with her character. I just didn’t connect to her on the same level I did with Josh.

Being a YA book, there were some parts that were a little corny or OTT, but nothing too terribly that it too away from the book. I personally felt the characters were on the more mature side- they really felt like authentic teenagers. Not only in the way they spoke, but the inner dialogue as well.

It was close to a 4 star read, except for at times it felt a little slow and didn’t hold my complete attention. That might not be the case with a younger reader though. 😉 It was pretty predictable, but I didn’t mind as well, as their journey was original.

All in all this was an adorable story of two best-friends who discover they might be a whole lot more than that.

 

6 every time

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Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

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Sunday Spotlight- Kissing Max Holden

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Title: Kissing Max Holden

Author: Katy Upperman

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Release Date: August 1st, 2017

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blurb

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

 

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Saturday Spotlight: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

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Title: What To Say Next

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

 

 

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Saturday Spotlight: Coming Up For Air

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Title: Coming Up For Air

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Genres: Young Adult, Sports Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

Heat Rating: 1.5 Stars

All the Feels: 5 Stars

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Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

 

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ARC Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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Title: When It’s Real

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: YA Romance

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Heat Rating: 1 star

All The Feels Rating: 5+++ Stars

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

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Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

review

You know when the weather is perfect, and you’re driving with the windows down, music blaring, singing along to your favorite song? You get that feeling of utter satisfaction that you want to hold on to forever. Well, that’s how I felt when I was reading When It’s Real. Yep, it’s that good. Though that’s a complete understatement, since it’s hard to put into words just how sweet, fun and swoon worthy this book really is.

Oakley Ford is a famous pop star who can’t seem to keep out of trouble. And unfortunately for Oakley, his less than desirable antics are constantly splattered all over the tabloids. When his popularity with his fans start to dwindle, there is only one thing to do- clean up his image. That’s when Oakley’s manager drops a bombshell: the fastest, and most sure fire way to revamp Oakley Ford is with a sweet, innocent, normal girlfriend. Welp, how bad can that be?

Vaughn Bennett has zero interest to play girlfriend to Oakley Ford. Unfortunately for Vaughn, she has a lot of interest in the amount of money she will earn by being Oakley’s image booster. After all, it’s not just Vaughn that needs the money, but her siblings as well. So what if she has to flirt with him on social media and hold his hand from time to time. It’s not like they have to get along. It’s not like she actually has to like that self centered jerk. It’s not like lines will be crossed. Right?

Eeek, just writing about it makes me want to go back and re-read it!

The relationship between Vaughn and Oakley is PERFECTION. When the two first meet, they don’t really like each other, and there is some amazing banter between the two of them. The friendship they form surprises them, and I have to applaud how authentic it felt. There is this vulnerability between then that gave me chills. They are a lot alike, yet vastly differently, and they compliment each other really well. It is a bit of a slow burn, and the chemistry between them is off the charts.

I really appreciate how well-written and developed Vaughn and Oakley were. Oakley is cocky and kind of an ass at times, but there is SO much more to him than meets the eye. He is thoughtful, genuine and unexpectedly really romantic. Seriously. He made my heart skip a beat a few times. Vaughn is strong and independent. She’s caring, intelligent and put others before herself. She had a true old soul feel to her, yet still had the battles that every teen girl goes through. I also really love her family.

I know some of you are thinking “But I don’t like YA….”

Come on now. This is Erin Watt we are talking about! You are going to love it! The writing is amazing, and even though this plot has been done before, it felt fresh. I promise it’s not all fluff, there are some issue that both Vaughn and Oakley are going through, and they both have a mature feel to them.

Do yourself a favor and read When It’s Real. You won’t regret it!

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Find When It’s Real

Goodreads| Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

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Waiting On It Wednesday- When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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Author: Erin Watt

Name: When It’s Real

Release Date: May 30th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult Romance

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blurb

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Pre-Order When It’s Real

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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