Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin

follow-me-home

Title: Follow Me Home
Author: Jen Benjamin
Published: 
March 2015 by Wallace Publishing
Genre: Fiction – Chick lit
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.

Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I love a good chick-lit once in a while, despite not being a “romance” reader. However, it’s refreshing to read one once in a while so I couldn’t say no to this opportunity.

rp-plot

Katie has moved herself and her husband to LA as her popular book turns into a movie. She doesn’t have many friends and her husband is anything but supportive of her decisions and her success. When she comes home to find that her husband has uprooted himself and left her, she finds comfort in her newest best friend, the movie’s director, Julie, and the guy playing the male lead in her movie, a famous child-singer now all grown up, Jesse.

It’s definitely an interesting premise. Katie moves on after some shock of the divorce, as she didn’t exactly have the best relationship with her husband. She falls for Jesse wanting to stop herself due to the age difference since she’s much older than him.

There’s a love-triangle, the whole “I-want-you-back” from her ex-husband, and an overall sappy love story mixed in with paparazzi.

I think overall the plot was pretty well done, even with the few cliches thrown into the mix.

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Katie was a wonderful protagonist to follow around. Normally her kind of character would bother me, but she was so much like me that I couldn’t help but relate and enjoy her thoughts. She was kind, focused on what she needed to do, and over-thought everything while was funny as we were able to peek into her thoughts now and then.

Jesse was an interesting male lead and I think he was the right choice for a love interest for Katie. The age difference didn’t really bother him, he just interacted with Katie as though they were equals and that was that. They had a good dynamic with one another.

rp-writing-style

The author had a great style that made the story a breeze to read. The pace was consistent as was the POV as we got to peek inside Katie’s mind and hear her thoughts overthinking everything and making snide remarks.

At the beginning of each chapter, there was a brief journal entry from Katie. Sometimes it was a paragraph, sometimes it was just one sentence. But it summarized the events quickly and effectively and captured Katie’s personality pretty well.

rp-overall

This book was a fun read and a great romance story. It was a short and quick. My only issue with it were the cliches. They were well done, but I felt it was too much for one story.

Still, I would read from this author again and would recommend this book to anyone.

Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin gets…
4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“I step back, trying to blend into a tree, which is stupid because I’m wearing a white shirt.” -Jen Benjamin, Follow Me Home

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass book review
Via Goodreads
Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Young adult romance/fantasy
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Review:

 

I’m not one for romance, but the cover certainly caught my eye as did the title. Upon reading the blurb on the back I had a feeling this book would be one those “fairy-tale” type love stories and I guess, in a way, it kind of is.

It’s set in an alternate universe where Cass rewrote history to fit the fantasy antics of the story. And I have to say, what a world she created. The way the world works, its rules, and the kingdom is so well put together. I would never want to live there, but it’s a brand new place to explore inside my mind.

America is chosen as one of the 35 selected, but unlike any other fairy-tale she doesn’t want this. She’s only doing it for the money to help out her family. Of course, despite her not wanting to marry the prince, they become close anyway.

Most of the book was American trying to get used to “princess” life living in the castle with the other girls and the royal family. It was all interesting as we learned what the new life would be like alongside America.

Speaking of America, I had issues with her name. A lot of the characters have interesting names (one is named Tiny), but I just thought America was weird. Later in the book, her name is explained and it makes sense. Cass really thought of everything.

The overall plot is interesting and as the book was closer to the end, I was on the edge of my seat. A twist came along that I was not expecting. While I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, this one is working and I don’t know who to root for.

I loved the characters. America has a great relationship with her maids, which is nice to see. The prince has his own unique personality that is both prince-like and boy-like. America is headstrong and isn’t afraid to go after what she wants or tell it like it is.

Overall, this book is well written in a wonderful fantasy world with amazing characters. I can’t wait to read the next book!

The Selection by Kiera Cass gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“But he sat way too rigidly in his chair. He looked so uptight. His clean hair was too perfect, his tailored suit too crisp. He seemed more like a painting than a person.” –Kiera Cass, The Selection

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Coffee, Tea or Me by Rich Amooi

Coffee, Tea or Me by Rich Amooi book review
Via Goodreads
Title: Coffee, Tea or Me
Author: Rich Amooi
Genre: Romantic comedy
How I got the book: I borrowed it for free through the Kindle library

Summary (from Goodreads):

Susie opens a tea shop next to Jack’s coffee shop and the war begins.

Jack Robbins has a booming coffee business, an eighty-year old customer who can’t keep his clothes on, and a rescue Chihuahua named Chimichanga that likes to kiss on the mouth. Life is good until the new business next door takes a bite out of his sales.

Susie McKenna has the new tea shop everyone is talking about, an over-protective brother, and a stubborn, good-looking neighbor who is trying to steal her customers.

Things really start to percolate when Jack and Susie both volunteer to help plan the downtown festival. They have to work together and soon Jack won’t be able to get by without his daily fix of Susie. But can a coffee lover and a tea devotee put their competition aside to get their happily ever after?

My Review:

I read this book on a whim because when I read the summary the movie “You’ve Got Mail” came to mind. I love that movie and I felt that this book would be a fun read since I was on vacation.

The chapters go back and forth between Jack’s point of view and Susie’s. I have to say that the author nailed both the male perspective and female perspective. I was often thinking the same things Susie was thinking. Jack was trying to keep his coffee shop up and running while Susie was starting off with her own tea shop right across the street.

The best part of this novel were the characters. Jack and Susie were fun to follow and it’s obvious from the beginning that they’re going to get together so I was cheering for them the whole time.

Plot-wise, I felt as though the beginning was slow. I didn’t mind it as much because I was enjoying the characters so much, but I didn’t think too much was going on. Towards the end, things get shaken up by something that happened in the beginning, which made it all come full circle and worth it.

The book was filled with great details and fun shenanigans from the characters. It was the perfect romantic comedy.

Coffee, Tea or Me by Rich Amooi gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“He could never be a spy. He would get caught or killed on his first day on the job, for sure.” –Rich Amooi, Coffee, Tea or Me

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Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt book review by Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads

Title: Two Way Street
Author:
Lauren Barnholdt 
Genre: Young adult romance
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They’re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney — for a girl he met on the Internet.

It’s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney’s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la — this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he’s got a secret or two that he’s not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can’t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

My Review:

For the sake of keeping this review spoiler-free, I won’t go into too much detail. But I had a lot of problems with this book.

The style of the book is really well done. We hop back and forth between Courtney and Jordan’s first-person point of view in each chapter. But not only do we see their thoughts, but we jump back in time as well. Some chapters are written a certain amount of days before the trip, some are during the trip, and then when we get to the end we see after the trip.

Courtney and Jordan are broken up, but they still go on a road-trip together to college. Jordan tries to be nice while Courtney is bitter on account they broke up because Jordan met some chick online.

The writing style is the only aspect of this book I didn’t mind.

It makes sense for Courtney and Jordan to be the narrators, but both characters were extremely annoying–more so Courtney than Jordan. Their best friends, Jocelyn and B.J., weren’t hot tickets themselves. I couldn’t find myself to care for any of the characters.

The whole story was predictable. From the summary, you kind of know what will happen at the end. I mean, it’s a young adult romance with two teens who are broken up, but still clearly have feelings for each other. Oh, and their stuck in the car together for a couple of days. Hmm, I wonder what will happen?

There was a scandal with both of their families. I figured that one out pretty quick as well. Let’s just say I know why the kids are so annoying. It’s because their parents are just as immature as they are.

This book was a fairly quick read. I read it in one day. But it got to the point that I continued reading just for the sake of saying I finished the book and get it over with.

 

Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt gets 2 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Usually the hard stuff you’re forced to do makes you learn a lot.” –Lauren Barnholdt, Two Way Street

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Take Over And Far Away

Today is October first which means… one more month until NaNoWriMo! Yeah, it’s already that time of year again. Scary, huh?

So, despite homework, work, babysitting, whatever else I have going on in real life, I need to buckle down and get myself back into a writing/editing routine so that I can work hard on NaNo.

Before I begin, let me explain this: I was planning on writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNo because I was going to outline that novel as well as finish editing Detective Florence 2 this month. Well, I never even finished typing up the second draft to the first novel. Thus, I never started editing the second novel.

I don’t even know if I’m doing it right, but writing a mystery series is pretty tough. There’s so much information and there are so many plot holes that need to be filled (just like any other genre, but I feel like mystery is worse). There are so many characters to keep track of: bad guys, witnesses, victims, and so on. I do have a good handle on it, but since I’ve gotten far behind from what my schedule originally was (thanks a lot, school) I decided to take a break from it. I might pick it back up in December, but I make no promises to myself at this time.

With that being said… usually the month before a NaNo session I outline (well, try to) whatever I’m going to write for the month. Except now that I decided not to continue on with Detective Florence for the time being, I had no idea what to write.

I looked through my extremely long list of novel ideas and nothing really jumped out at me. I didn’t even know what genre to write. So, I looked through my flash drive and decided to be a “NaNo Rebel” this year and finish something that was already started. Thus, I came across Far Away again.

I thought it might be nice to work on a stand-alone novel for a change so I clicked on it to see where I was. Now, I don’t remember this, but apparently back in January I wrote about 20,500 words of this story. It was about 64 pages long. So, I’m pretty far along in the novel. I just need to read through it to make sure I remember what is going on. Thus, the outline. I’m going to outline Far Away this month so I can finish it for NaNo. Since I’m already 20k words in and my goal for NaNo is 50k, I’m going to have to have Far Away be at least 70k words, which I think won’t be too hard. The good news is, since I’ve already started it, I should be able to finish the manuscript if I meet my goals during November.

Speaking of stand-alone novels… about a month back I decided to work on two projects. One being the Detective Florence series (which since then has changed because I’m going to take a break from it) and the other would be Take Over. Does anyone remember that one?

I wrote it back in April 2013 for Camp NaNo. I decided to work on this because it is a stand-alone novel. I would like to get something worthy of publication soon, and I figured a stand-alone would be the best way to do it. I would like to have it ready by this time next year. So, in addition to outlining Far Away, I’ll be editing Take Over. In order to finish that by the end of the month, I need to edit about eight pages a day. I think that’s reasonable on account I have work and school on top of everything else. If I don’t finish it by the end of the month, it’s no big deal, but at least I’m going to try to have it done by then.

I hope everyone else is going to start getting ready for NaNo. 30 more days! Plus, the first day of November is on a Saturday. I can finish my homework early that week and of course I don’t have work on Saturday, so I’m hoping to make the first day really count!