Book Review: Play With Me by Piper Shelly

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Title: Play With Me (Grover Beach Team #1) PlayWithMe
Author: Piper Shelly 
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance, Young Adult, Fun 
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: December 2012
Pages: 190
Rating: 3  stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter

My Review:

Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed – but Liza knows who she wants her first to be. Tony Mitchell – the boy she’s been best friends with since forever. But when he comes back from soccer camp there’s something different about him… and not just his sudden liking for Red Bull. Determined to get his attention, Liza tries out for the soccer team and finds herself way out of her depth. Lucky for her, the gorgeous team captain, Ryan Hunter,  is willing to take Liza under his wing. Are his intentions honourable or does he want something more than just to teach Liza about the game he loves?

Play With Me is short and sweet. It’s a novella and just under 200 pages, this story was a fun one to read although fairly predictable. The characters are a little simplistic but enjoyable to follow. Liza is the slightly naive girl who has a long time crush on her BFF, Tony – who seems to have no idea about Liza’s true feelings. Ryan is a bit of a spoilt rich kid who has money, good looks and girls following him around at all times – except for the one he wants. These people may be slightly stereotypical but I liked reading about them. They’re cute and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

I have to admit  wasn’t the hugest fan of Liza – she’s clueless and slightly irritating in her complete obliviousness to Ryan’s advances however that has just made me even more eager to read the companion novel, Ryan Hunterwhich is the story of Play With Me from Ryan’s perspective. I didn’t quite believe Liza’s complete turn around from painfully naive to make out queen but that’s just a minor quibble.

This story was fun and sweet. I enjoyed reading it and recommend it for fans of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundread Oak’s series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

(check it out now! It’s free as an ebook from Amazon and B&N for the month of October 2013)

AUTHOR BIO

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The quick-and-dirty:
I’m a cool girl with a passion for writing.
The genres you’ll find me hanging out at are contemporary and paranormal YA, but I’m also snooping into some adult paranormal right now. All of them romances…of course.
The nitty-gritty:
I’m an Austrian lass—totally uncomplicated and up to anything fun.
I grew up in Vienna, not by free will but because my parents decided to move there when I was only 4 years old. I. Hated. The. City. Everything about it. So right after graduation I moved back to Upper Austria, where I settled down with a nice husband and an awesome laptop.
I’ve been a storyteller all my life. Already in kindergarten, I came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. My teacher would call me a liar. I call it the cornerstone of my writing career.
People always told me you can’t make a living with being an author. So when my first novella PLAY WITH ME came out and shot straight to the stars within the first week, I was totally dumbstruck. Took me a while to realize what was happening, LOL.
And the personal stuff:
At the (awesome) age of seventeen, I met the love of my life. But he was a playboy, and I was so not going to be his next trophy. It took him another four years of fighting for me until I finally decided to give that “couple-thing” with him a shot. I’m now married to this man. 😉

We have an eleven-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and my many stories. Unless we’re in Disneyland. No stress to go home then…

If you still want to know more about me, my FAQ page is the right address for you. 😉

http://pipershelly.com/faq/

Author Links:

 

Novella Review: Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Shadows (Lux, #0.5)

Title: Shadows (Lux #0.5)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Sci-Fi, Aliens
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: February 2012
Pages: 179
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane.

Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in.

Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence…and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself.

My Review:

I’m not normally a novella person. I often find them irrelevant and rather than adding anything to the overall plot – they detract from why I like a series. But that’s so not the case with Shadows. Shadows is the pre-story of how Bethany and Dawson meet. It’s all information that anyone who has read the Lux series knows but getting to read it and know first hand how everything went down – it has changed how I view this entire series.

Bethany and Dawson have a fantastic story. They meet and really get to know each other. There’s no instalove here despite their intense connection straight off the bat. And I liked them more as a couple because of it. Bethany is sweet and grounded – she wants to do what is right by herself and her family rather than just doing whatever she wants. And then there’s Dawson. Why is the fandom so into Daemon when there’s Dawson to consider? He’s definitely my favourite of the brothers now. Compared to Daemon’s dark and surly demeanour, Dawson is practically sunny in comparison.

If you’re a fan of this series and haven’t read this novella – I highly recommend it. It adds a lot more than just the relationship between Bethany and Dawson. We get to see the DoD (Department of Defence), Bethany’s Uncle Will as well has just how the Thompson Triplets operate from a non-biased outsider’s view. And plus – at 179 pages this is more than a typical novella. It’s detailed and offers quite detailed back story. I have to say that reading this had made me particularly eager for Origin (Lux #4) which is released later this month.

Purchase the ebook from:

Amazon

Novella Review: All Over You by Beverley Kendall

Title: All Over You (Unforgettable You #1.5) – formerly know as Those Nights in Montreal (Language of Love #1.5)
Author: Beverley Kendall
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, New Adult 
Publisher: Season Publishing LLC
Publication Date: 6th May 2013
Pages: 138
Rating: 1.5. stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
An ex is an ex for a reason

To Rebecca Winters, it’s not just a saying or the title to a catchy tune, it’s a rule she staunchly lives by. Especially since the break up with her ex. What’s the point in trying to fix the “unfixable”? Besides, only a girl hell-bent on more heartbreak would go back to the guy who bailed on her when she needed him most. But saying no to Scott is becoming more difficult than surviving the breakup itself. And unfortunately for her, the kind of pressure he’s exerting is making her rule all too easy to break.

Scott Carver has given up trying to get over his ex. He’s still in love with her and their year apart has done nothing to change that. Yeah, he knows he screwed up. Just how royally, he wasn’t aware of until now. So when Becca agrees to give him a second chance, he grabs on to it with both hands. But it’s clear the only way things will ever truly be right between them is if he comes clean…about everything. He can only pray the truth doesn’t send her running—for good this time.

My Review:

After a bad break up 12 months ago, Rebecca Winters still wants nothing to do with her ex. Scott Carver. But unfortunately for her – he hasn’t given up on her. For the past month, Rebecca can’t go anywhere on campus without Scott turning up. One incident with a little too much to drink and the gorgeous and hard-to-say-no-to Scott, leaves Rebecca doing something she swore she would never do – giving him a second chance. Has Scott really changed? Or is he just going to end up breaking Rebecca’s heart again… and this time permanently.

I wanted to like this novella. I really did. I found Rebecca to be an effervescent character when she was first introduced in Only For You (formerly know as When In Paris) but somewhere in between Olivia’s story and now – she changed for me. In this story, Rebecca is the kind of girl who loves to play games – and I’m not even sure she knows she’s playing them. A person who thinks they’re low maintenance but in all reality they couldn’t be any more insecure or temperamental. She leads Scott on and then shuts him down, is jealous of his liaisons with other women and yet gets an almost perverse pleasure out of turning him away and messing with his emotions. Scott is a little flat and I don’t understand his motivation for wanting Rebecca. They don’t make sense as a couple and have some rather severe communication issues.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a little harsh on Rebecca. The relationship between her and Scott – whilst it doesn’t make sense to me why either party is interested in the other except for sheer sexual attraction – is full of obstacles and does reach a satisfying conclusion. Are they perfect for each other? Yes (but maybe that’s just because I don’t want anyone else to have to put up with either of them).

Despite all I’ve said – I enjoyed reading this book. It’s hot – like sizzling in parts! – but involves people who frustrate me to no end because of the games many people play in relationships.

NOTE: Due to language & sexual situations, recommended for readers 18+ yr.
Warning: The sensuality level of this short novel is high

Grab a copy now whilst it’s still free on Amazon!

Purchase from:

Amazon

Novella Review: The Flute Player by Shawn Mihalik

Title: The Flute Player
Author: Shawn Mihalik
Genre: fantasy, novella
Publisher: Asymmetrical Press 
Publication Date: 12 March 2013 
Pages: 67
Rating: 3.5.stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
For nearly ten years, young Oliver has begrudgingly accepted his position as the flute player of the peaceful village of Drommar—a responsibility thrust upon him after the previous flute player, and Oliver’s best friend, drowned in a tragic childhood accident.

Now on the cusp of adulthood, a mysterious young woman enters Oliver’s life, and he begins to question the nature of his world and the importance of his place in it.

My Review:

In the village of Drommar, the Flute Player is a position of honour and prestige. Every morning and evening, the player inspires, motivates and soothes the villagers with his tunes. But it’s not a position Oliver wanted. When his childhood friend died in a tragic accident, Oliver inherited the role and the flute. Shut out from the world by his father, Oliver spends his days trying to write new tunes for the villagers. But devoid of stimulus, Oliver lacks the motivation and inspiration to write. After discovering there’s more to the world than just sheet music and the flute, Oliver thrives and finds so much more to life. There’s a girl, Alexandria – a stranger from another land that only he can see. But things are not right and Oliver needs to find out what’s meant to be and what isn’t before it’s too late for Alexandria.

This short story is a very interesting read. I found it a little uncomfortable to begin with. There are some sentences that go for over a hundred words broken up with a series of commas. But as I got into the story, Mihalik’s style of writing grew on me and only added to the fantastical nature of Oliver’s story. The simplicity of village life nicely contrasted with Alexandria’s modern (or at least modern compared to Oliver’s standards) way of living and I liked how they interacted with each other. Both isolated in the world and yet – though each other – not alone.

Mihalik has crafted a great story with a different style and vibe to most. Despite it’s length, The Flute Player still manages to give some twists and delivers beautiful imagery. To sum it up in one sentence – The Flute Player is a  quick read with a great journey.

P.S. – how great is the cover!

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Novella Review: Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy #4.5) 
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Mythology
Publisher: KTeen (an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.)
Publication Date: 25 June 2015
Pages: 60
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was — until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story …

My Review:

Before Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy #5) is released in July, it’s fantastic to get a novella help me wait for another instalment in one of my favourite series. And the best part about Spartan Frost is that we get a glimpse at life though the eyes of our favourite Spartan, Logan Quinn.

In the wake of events from Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4)Logan is trying to get his head around just what happened in the auditorium. Moving back to New York with his father, Logan is battling his inner demons. That is until his father lets him join the Protectorate and face off against some Reapers.

This novella is short and sweet so my review is going to be too. I love Logan – and it was fantastic getting to see life from his point of view. Spartan Frost isn’t going to be necessary to completely understand and enjoy the Mythos Academy series however it’s an interesting to see how Logan feels about fighting, his family and his relationship with Gwen.  

I am more excited than ever for the release of Midnight Frost and hope that in the future, Jennifer Estep plans on giving us more insights from the Spartan, Logan Quinn.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Novella Review: Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer

I think I’m going to have to reconsider my former statement on not liking novellas. Because the novellas in the Elemental series (Elemental #0.5, Fearless #1.5 and now Breathless #2.5) are incredible!

Since this story was so short and sweet my review will be too.

Title: Breathless (Elementals #2.5)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Magic
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: 30 April 2013 
Pages: 65
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Too many secrets. Not enough time.

Nick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it’s just him and his three hot-headed brothers against the world, that’s a survival tactic.

But now he’s got problems even his brothers can’t help him survive.

His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going quick as mercury from daring to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn’s dancer friend Adam is throwing Nick off balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he’d rather shove back into the dark.

He can feel it—-the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is starting to find out that sometimes nothing you do can keep the peace.

My Review:

Everytime I read a story from the Elementals series I find myself finding a new favourite character. After finishing Spark (Elementals #2) I was hooked on Gabriel but now it’s his twin, Nick, that I can’t get enough of.

A true testament to Brigid’s writing that a novella of only 65 pages could leave such a profound impression on me.

Nick – the responsible Merrick brother – has a decision to make. Does he stay close by to be there for his family or does he take the chance and break out on his own and go to a college far away when he can just be Nick – and not just known as Gabriel’s brother.

His sort-of girlfriend, Quinn, is making Nick even more uncomfortable with feelings of insecurity, uncertainty and a dash of guilt but he wants to be there for her. He is her sounding board and the perfect gentleman despite her (possibly deserved) reputation as being easy with her affection. And then there’s Adam – Quinn’s dancing partner who is there for Quinn no matter what… and if Nick let’s him would be there for him too.

There’s so much more that happens in this story but I really don’t want to divulge anything too spoilery. It’s just that good! Breathless left me breathless (pardon the pun). It’s short and sweet and has me craving the more of the somewhat forgotten Merrick brother!

Spirit (Elemental #3) comes out on May 28th.

Purchase the ebook from:

Amazon


Novella Review: Commencement by Paige Cuccaro

Title: Commencement (Hellsbane 0.5)
Author: Paige Cuccaro
Genre: New Adult; paranormal; urban fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Publishing 
Publication Date: September 2012 
Pages: 87 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):

Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn for frat guys…

Emma Jane Hellsbane knows something evil is worming its way through her college campus—she can feel it. Literally. Her freakish ability to feel other people’s emotions as though they were her own has always been monumentally awkward, and it’s easier for her to just pretend it doesn’t exist. But this time her paranormal ability just might help her save lives.

Emma Jane’s fairly certain that whatever the hateful, egomaniacal, Godlike thing is, it’s set up shop inside her boyfriend, the frat boy/soccer star Justin. And if she doesn’t figure a way to get it out of him soon, Justin’s soul will be the appetizer to the main course—the whole student body. Problem is, the big baddy is granting sinister wishes, and with each one the risks grow higher and the phrase Be careful what you wish for becomes a real-life dire warning. Of course for Emma, what feels like it could be the end is in fact just the beginning…

My Review:

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this introduction to the Hellbane series considering my usual dislike for novellas. It’s short and sweet but we get to see a great snapshot of Emma Jane at 19 – intelligent, caring and determined to help those she cares about.

With computer savvy boy genius Mihir at her side, Emma tries to work out what’s bothering her boyfriend and first true love, soccer star frat boy Jason never realizing that it’s more than anything she’s seen before. Her empath’s gift is telling her that this is an evil beyond anything she’s ever considered to be real. Jason has found himself a Jinn and not even Emma can come between him and his wishes.

Plot wise – well… there’s not all that much that can happen in 87 pages especially when so much character development is occurring. But I really liked how the characters were detailed. Emma is interesting and Mihir? I’d love to read more about him and his practitioner of the Dark Arts grandmother. The many pop-culture references were another plus in Commencement‘s favour for me. – seriously, Mihir wants to be Giles to Paige’s Buffy? 😀

The first book in the Hellsbane series starts five years after this novella and would not count as young adult fiction since Emma is then 24 but I think that this is a series I could definitely fall in love with.

Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy.

Purchase the novella from:

Amazon