J to tha M: What We’re Reading

amokN to tha A

M:  I’ve actually read some good NA books lately I think you’d like

J:  Oh yeah? No dark seekrits?

M:  Heh, no. All were on sale, too

The first one is The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen – 99 cents

J:  oh yeah!

I read her novella

I like her

M:  Fell Down was good

very solid. I enjoyed

J:  it’s hockey, right?

M:  kind of

J:  her novella was sports, too. Blonde Date.

M:  both MCs play/played hockey

J:  yeah. injury for the girl

looked a little close to home for me

M:  The hockey was more background (and – sigh – not super realistic, but eh)

J:  I’ll definitely read it. Not sure why I didn’t just snap it up after I read the novella because I really liked how she handled the alpha/beta hero in Blonde Date

I’ll start it tonight

M:  I remember you telling me you liked Blonde Date

J:  yeah. thought the hero was really cute in that one

M:  I liked Adam in Fell Down, too

although he does have a girlfriend through a lot of the book – a mostly absent one, but still

but the author made it work

and the hockey stuff…

he broke his leg and can’t play until it heals, but it’s like he just gets a free pass vacation from hockey

An upperclassman on the team, who has been playing for the past couple years? Trust me. He would not get a free pass vacation from hockey

He’d still have to train (as much as he could), have curfew, still have all the rules and schedule of the team

They’d find something for him to do. He’d WANT something to do

but instead, they put in in the “accessible” dorm and it’s like he’s a regular student

no mention of a scholarship or how it affects one, even though his family has no money and the school is super-exclusive

but, one of those things probably no one else would notice and it was only a minor irritation

the rest was totally worth the read

J: I read a cute one, too

The Bowler University series one. Make it Count by Megan Erickson

Dealt with issues. A little like my Side Effects and the to-be-finished-someday sequel, Soundtrack

Yeah, it was cute. The girl has always gotten by on her looks, but she really hates that people assume she’s stupid

She goes to tutoring and finds out her boyfriend’s BFF is the tutor

of course, she doesn’t think she’s good enough because he’s crazy smart

and I just really loved Alec

there wasn’t cheating–not from the main characters, anyway, except for the emotional kind

I guess that’s just as bad in some ways

but it was done in a way that you rooted for them instead of being upset by it

you=all readers (or at least me)

M:  oh, that does sounds cute

J:  it is pretty cute

I’ll get the second one, for sure

M:  how does the author handle the boyfriend? I can totally deal that kind of thing if it’s handled well

J:  the BF was obviously distracted and upset by something way outside their relationship

by the time Alec comes in, she’s feeling very neglected and alone

and when her BF is around, she just feels used

there’s a good reason Max (the BF) and Alec are friends, even if they aren’t much alike

and there’s a good reason the BF is getting distant

by the time things explode between the main characters, she’s broken up with Max

realizes she deserves better, even if it is Max’s best friend

M:  sounds nicely done

J:  it really was

there were a few will-she/won’t-she times where I wanted to punch her, but then, it’s understandable that she’s dealing with a learning disability, finally feeling like she’s worth something after all this time

and also the breakup and the emotional beating she takes when she gives in to her ex’s BFF

but Alec

he’s a doll

M:  ooh, that sounds interesting

J:  total alpha/beta

more beta. just alpha when he needs to be

M:  that’s always interesting, too

esp when it’s done well

J:  plus the next one tells Max’s story

and I’m excited to see how she redeems him

the general consensus is that she redeems him very well

M:  I really like those kind of stories

Hard to find good redemption tales, but there’s just something about them I really like

turning a character around

J:  I think it just recently released

so I’ll probably get it after reading the one you just rec’d

M:  The Year We Fell Down was kinda similar – the hero already has a girlfriend

that trope sometimes makes me frustrated–either it’s more on the cheating side or the BF/GF is a total douche, which I think is often a lazy or easy out

and the GF in this is pretty much a rich bitch cliche, but there’s an interesting reason he’s with her in the first place

which was good, because usually it’s not presented well

Makes me sit there and wonder if the MC is so smart and cool and wonderful, why is he/she with a douche?

If there’s a good reason, I roll right along. Otherwise, it’s teeth-gritting time

J:  yeah. like, it’s easy to hate the BF in this one, until the whole story is revealed

and then you hate him even more for just a few minutes

and for good reason

but then you also forgive

for good reason

M:  now you’ve got me really interested. I shall read

J:  It’s only $1.99

M:  it will go on my list when I’m in the mood for a good NA. I can only read those by rec anymore, as you know

some make me so ragey, but the good ones are worth it

J:  this is not the typical NA

well, it is in some ways

but not in those dark seekrits, party-all-the-time, where-are-the-parents kind of way

I don’t understand why so many authors think the moment a character turns 18 the parents can just disappear

or even high school story authors

M:  Well, kind of like the other NA I’m reading now–the prequel (Elemental) and first book in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer

The first one – Storm – is free right now. I’m only about 2/3 of the way through, but so far it’s pretty good

solid characters, editing very good, sucked me right in, decent suspense and mystery

it’s free – you should get it

J:  just got it

M:  The parents are conveniently absent, though

J:  sure, some parents are absent, but those aren’t the only kids who have great stories

and dude. if there’s ever a chance for humor or mortification in a high school/NA story, it’s when parents are involved.

use them.

M:  haha – that’s a really good point

It’s like wanting to make the HS kids act like adults but in a teenage setting almost

so – buh-bye parents

and the kids can run amok like 20-somethings instead of HS students

J:  right. never happens

Also, the parents aren’t absent in Make It Count

I think perhaps the authors who leave the parents out must not have had a great relationship with their mom or dad

My parents were just as fun as some of my friends

and they found me hilarious most of the time, in all my seriousness

M:  I don’t think it’s that so much. More the convenience of not having the parents around so there can be amok-running for the main characters

I still managed to have some fun amoking in HS, and trust me, my parents were around

But it is harder for an author to figure out a way around a boy sneaking in to stay the night or go to crazy parties if parents are in the picture. Not impossible, but takes some work

I guess it’s easier just to kill parents off or have them work overnight shifts

Not to say it never happens in real life, but I doubt as much as it tends to be portrayed in books

J:  oh, I had some amok-running, too. It’s actually a part of being a teen, to get around the parents. and I think it should be a part of any story

M:  not sure why it isn’t

J:  even if the parents are absent a lot, they should still have some kind of influence

M:  and like you said, it’s a great point for adding conflict and tension

Actually, running amok sounds pretty good right now. Hmm. brb


J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Same Old Story

medium_2252983146M:  I’ve been reading a lot

so many, I can put them in categories

big authors, YA/NA, romantic suspense, paranormal, m/m

J:  I’ve been reading a lot of sports romance

oh, and I read a Ruthie Knox holiday romance

cute cute cute

M:  which sports romances?

J:  mostly from Entangled

a cute football series, MMA, boxing


Karen Erickson, Gina L Maxwell and Christine Bell


M:  I’ve liked everything I’ve read from Karen Erickson

oh, and Christine Bell’s Dirty Trick was on sale a while back. You read and liked, so I bought. Haven’t read that yet, though.

I’ve read a few YA/NA some I liked, most left me very eh

oh! Jeanette Grey’s new one got delivered to my Kindle last night

I plan on reading that tonight

J:  Oh, crap

what’s the name of her new one?

I had it marked somewhere and then promptly forgot

it looked cute

M:  When It’s Right

J:  thank you

Dirty Trick is cute

familiar trope

kind of “siiiiiiigh, really?” in places, but she made me not care

M:  I do have to talk about the NA/YA ones

J:  please do

M:  I read a couple really popular ones – they were free or on big sale, so I thought I’d try

J:  you know how I feel about most of them

M:  yeah

J:  I’ll try not to go all ranty on you again

M:  I feel pretty much the same, and most of the ones I read recently did nothing to change my opinion much

hoping Jeanette’s keeps my faith

So, I read The Edge of Never from JD Redmerski

so many raves about it, thought I’d give it a go



wasn’t bad, really, just very…


have you read it?

J:  I haven’t, no

I think I’ve only vaguely heard of it

looking it up now

M:  it was a self pub that got picked up by a big six, I think

the writing wasn’t bad, but it had huge plot holes and did fall into the typical cliches of the genre

J:  oh nooooooo


Dark Secrets

there are Dark Secrets in the flipping summary

M:  yeah. find me a NA without Dark Secrets

but in this one, oh, the plot holes

and Drama for drama’s sake

not entirely impressed

I fell into the “yada yada, let’s just get this over with” and didn’t take much away from the reading experience

J:  I’m so sorry you had to go through that

M:  well, it wasn’t worth being sorry for – I’ve read those I want some sympathy afterward for suffering through

this one was just a great big eh

but thanks

and that brings me to another NA that I read good things about, but was even more eh

and Oh, The Cliches

holy good giddyup

J:  do tell

I want to examine this summary, too

M:  The Secret of Ella and Micha

J:  ah jesus

Darkest Secrets

can someone write a summary without Dark Secrets?

M:  Depression, bipolar, suicide, goth, must change, must run away from those who care for heroine, alcoholism, don’t call or contact anyone for eight months and then casually return from college where she took refuge (with no explanation how she paid for it – that I recall, at least) and move back in next door to the guy she left and then get all flaily when she (GASP!) sees him

plus, let’s hit every YA hero characteristic that we can  – a hero who plays guitar in a band and races cars and climbs in her window every night to curl up around her


wait for it…

has a Tattoo

J:  it’s the same book

M:  oh, and cancer

and parents who are conveniently absent

J:  over and over and over again

M:  this one was EVERY book over and over again

the hero doesn’t have cancer, sorry. another throwaway character does

J:  someone has to

M:  sigh

but, a couple YA/NA I did enjoy

Play With Me by Piper Shelly


some holes, typical conveniently lax parenting, boy lives next door and they spend time sneaking in and out of windows

My mom and dad must have had supernatural hearing or something. I  never would have been able to sneak people in and out of my bedroom through the window like Grand Central Station when I was growing up

J:  I didn’t even try

M:  I mean, does that really happen? Maybe just because I didn’t do it, I don’t think anyone else realistically can?

I can’t imagine it was that commonplace or easy, but who knows

anyway, Play With Me was pretty cute

J:  NA or YA?

M:  more YA. I think they were juniors or seniors in HS

J:  I’ll put that one on my to-read list

M:  there was another one I read that wasn’t bad, but I can’t remember. They all ran together.

J:  well, I’m glad there were a couple that weren’t cringe-worthy

reading should be fun, not cringy

M:  it should

so, tell me about some you’ve read

J:  Well, I’ve read what’s published of those three sports romance series

the first is always adorable

then the second kind of goes overboard with the kick-ass heroine

I’m all for strength, but when it’s just a plot device…meh

the Entangled Brazen line is all a bit trope-y

but most of the time I don’t care

the story is cute enough to stand on its own

the cutest was Game for Marriage

the whole pretend marriage trope

M:  I read that one – I liked.

J:  the second cutest, I think, was maybe Seducing Cinderella

the MMA fighter and the mousy doctor-turned-sexpot

the Pygmalion trope

the third cutest was Down for the Count

I think


left-at-the-altar-by-cheating-fiance trope

boxer Galen

then all these heroines had fierce best friends who got their own story

which was often the old-flame trope

M:  I heard about Seducing Cinderella but didn’t buy because I heard the hero knew a little too much about girly stuff when trying to make over the heroine

that he thought and used expressions that an alpha-guy MMA fighter most likely wouldn’t use

J:  aw, but he was really a good hero

M:  yeah, but you like them a little more beta than I do sometimes o.O

J:  there were some times in all of them where I went O.o

usually in dialogue

M:  but you liked the Cinderella one?

I might give it a try if you did

J:  I did

I liked all of the first ones

you might like all of the second ones in the series

it would only make sense

M:  I read an Entangled Brazen by Tessa Bailey and really liked. I plan on reading the rest in the series and more of hers

J:  which one?

M:  Protecting What’s His

J:  I keep checking that one out

M:  I read another in the series, Officer Off Limits

liked that, too. I’ll read the rest for sure

J:  I’ll go for it, since you liked it

I read the Wilde ones

not bad for suspense

M:  In Protecting What’s His, he’s a dirty talking hero

and she did a good job with it. A lot of times, it sounds forced or just weird or totally out of character, but this was pretty darn good

J:  the second book in the MMA series had a dirty talker

M:  there were a couple of really good rawr lines

it’s hard to do good dirty talk

most times I just think, wow, you’re an idiot or an asswipe

but not this

a couple of Stupidgirl moments but nothing too terrible

having people ignore voicemail messages for days seems to be the new way to get around today’s technology to build suspense

it’s one thing not to notice you have voicemails – that can happen. I’m proof. I don’t see my cellphone for days sometimes

but to see a message waiting and know who it’s from and that it’s probably important but ignore and go on merrily risking your life when the knowledge could save you…

that plot device is getting old

J:  yeah

lose the phone, at the very least

drop it in the toilet or something

M:  I read another one that was semi sports related, but that’s kind of a big rant. Might be better for another day.

J:  heh

M:  heh. Just wait. Anyway. Off to read Jeanette’s When It’s Right.


photo credit: Barka Fabianova via photopin cc