A Beautiful Wedding by Jamie McGuire

A Beautiful Wedding by Jamie McGuire“And when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever.”

A Beautiful Wedding is a novella that gives a full account of Travis and Abby’s wedding in Beautiful Disaster. Following the horrific fire at the fight where Abby and Travis almost lost their lives, the two hop on a plane to Vegas to get married. The novella gives the reader more detail about Abby’s reasoning for the quick marriage, and also shows us a bit more of what happens after.

I was very excited to read this because I will never tire of these characters, but I have to say that I had mixed feelings about this novella. I loved being able to read about the actual wedding, but finding out Abby’s real reason behind the wedding ruined it a bit for me. In Beautiful Disaster, the reader is led to believe that Abby wants to get married so quickly and so young because she can’t imagine another day without Travis, yet in this novella we find out that there is actually an ulterior motive involved. I understood Abby’s motive, but at the same time I really felt like she was deceiving Travis a bit and that he deserved to know the truth about why she was pushing for this marriage.

I did like that there was more attention paid to the after effects of the fire–in Beautiful Disaster it seemed as though Abby and Travis brushed it off pretty quickly, but in the novella we learn that it definitely affected them more than it seemed. So many people died in the fire and Travis is left feeling extremely guilty and responsible because it was the fight that he was in that drew so many people to that building. Since the novella is told from both characters point of view, we get to see how upset Travis is and how nervous Abby is that he will be held responsible.

Overall, A Beautiful Wedding was a good follow up novella that gives the reader more insight into what really happened at Travis and Abby’s wedding. While I loved reading more of this story, part of me didn’t like Abby’s reasoning behind the elopement.

A Beautiful Wedding was released on December 10, 2013.

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Four Seconds to Lose by K. A. Tucker

Four Seconds to Lose by K. A. TuckerCain is the owner of Penny’s Palace, a strip club in Miami. Even though he allows girls to dance with their clothes off on his stage, he simultaneously tries to save them from the lives they have been forced into. When Charlie Rourke comes into his club asking for a job however, he finds himself unable to follow his own rule of never getting involved with the staff. Charlie needs money fast so that she can run away from her past. While the thought of stripping makes her sick, she knows it is the only way to earn money quickly so that she can move on. She has no intention of getting involved with anyone, but when she meets Cain, she becomes unable to keep her distance.

This book was slightly different from the other two in the series because it is told from two different perspectives–Cain’s and Charlie’s. I think it worked really well for this story because both of them have secrets that they hide from each other but not from the reader, so we are able to understand the reason for their guardedness.

I was excited to read Cain’s story because while he has appeared in the first two books, he was very briefly in them and there always seemed like there was more to him than meets the eye. He’s not your typical club owner because he tries to protect the girls that work for him and helps them to better themselves outside of work. Charlie is also not what she seems initially–she is forced to leave her home and stepfather in Long Island after an incident and she is sent to Miami for what seemed like a period of time to lay low. However, she soon realizes that her stepfather isn’t the wonderful man she always thought he was and that she needs to run away from the only life she’s ever known.

I loved the romance between Cain and Charlie, especially because Cain made it seem so forbidden. Not only was he her boss, but she also reminded him of a girl he used to love so he tries his best to keep his distance from her. Charlie doesn’t want to get involved with anyone but she is especially wary of getting involved with Cain because she is afraid of what he will think of her if he discovers her secrets. The two try their best to stay away from each other but it proves impossible and ends up threatening both of their lives.

Overall, Four Seconds to Lose was a great third book in a series that I will definitely stick with. I love all of the characters in this series and I am excited to see who the next book will be about.

Four Seconds to Lose was released on November 4, 2013 and is the third book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series.

One Tiny Lie by K. A. Tucker

One Tiny Lie by K. A. TuckerLivie Cleary was always the smart, sensible sister and her sister Kacey was the wild one. But deep down she is desperate to make her parents proud even though they are no longer alive to witness it. She follows her father’s dream for her, going off to Princeton to pursue a career in oncology. But when her sister and her roommate drag her to a party one night, she didn’t expect to get drunk and become infatuated with the best looking guy on campus. Suddenly there is more to life than the future she had mapped out for herself, and she finds herself constantly drawn to a guy who is exactly the opposite of the man she always expected she would marry.

I really liked Livie’s story, and I think I liked it even better than Kacey’s. Livie has always seemed put together on the outside but she actually is still dealing with her parents’ death on the inside. While she has a very different way of dealing it from her sister, it still is not healthy. She is so desperate to fulfill her father’s dream of her going to medical school that she doesn’t even stop to think about what she really wants. When she meets Ashton, she realizes that the life she planned for herself may not be the life she actually wants to live.

I was really able to feel Livie’s conflict and I felt myself going back and forth with my opinion of Ashton right along with her. He comes off as a player and someone who could never get serious with someone like Livie, yet when they are alone he acts like she is the only person he cares for. Half the time he acts like a sweet, caring person and the other half he is being a jerk so, like Livie, I went back and forth between loving him and hating him. What Livie comes to discover though, is that there is more going on in his life than she realized and he may be dealing with just as many things as she is.

Overall, One Tiny Lie was a great story about a girl’s struggle to discover herself. I really loved this one and I liked the fact that Kacey and Trent still made an appearance.

One Tiny Lie was released on June 11, 2013 and is the second book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series.

The Social Code by Sadie Hayes

The Social Code by Sadie HayesAdam and Amelia Dory are eighteen year old twins who just received scholarships to Stanford University. They are excited to finally leave behind their difficult small town life of foster parents and hardships, and excited to make something of themselves right in the heart of Silicon Valley. Amelia is a talented computer genius, and her brother decides to use her talents to create their own company, hoping to earn millions and make a name for themselves. What he didn’t realize is exactly how competitive the business world really is, and how their secrets will not stay buried forever.

This book was a huge disappointment. I feel like this was a bad rip off of the Facebook movie. Amelia is a shy computer nerd who is (of course) extremely good looking and her brother Adam is a jerk who basically wants to use his sister to make money. Amelia creates an app for the iPhone and her brother decides to use her app to make them famous. With the help of an investor, they start their own company and begin to make money.

Not a single character in this story was likeable. Amelia is boring and seems to lack any redeeming qualities other than her intelligence and the fact that she’s good looking. Aside from that she doesn’t have much of a personality. Her twin, Adam, who supposedly is her best friend, is pretty much a jerk who uses her for his own advancement. He starts dating a girl simply because she’s good looking and aside from that there are no sparks in their relationship.

The whole book was very choppy, jumping from one character’s perspective to another without any real transition in between. I found myself confused many times because of this, and I don’t think the jumping around from character to character helped the story at all. It also didn’t really have an ending! I’ve heard of leaving a cliffhanger, but is it necessary to end a book mid-conversation? I kept hitting next page on my ereader because I honestly couldn’t believe that was the ending.

Overall, The Social Code was a disappointing read. The story was very predictable and I was unable to connect with any of the characters. Since the book ended so abruptly I’m guessing there is going to be a sequel, but unfortunately I will not be reading it.

The Social Code will be released on September 3, 2013.

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker“Just breathe. Ten tiny breaths … Seize them. Feel them. Love them.”

Kacey Cleary and her sister run away to Miami four years after the horrific car accident that killed their parents, Kacey’s boyfriend, and her best friend Jenny. Kacey, who was the only survivor of the accident, keeps pushing everyone away and is determined to start a new life where nobody will know the story of their past. However, when she begins to grow close to her neighbor, Trent, it becomes difficult to keep her past hidden forever.

I really loved this book! Kacey is really messed up after the accident–her parents’ car was hit by a drunk driver and even though Kacey survived, she was severely injured and spent months in physical therapy in order to walk again. She lost her parents, her best friend, and her boyfriend all in one night, and finds it extremely hard to cope with afterwards. She gets into drinking, drugs, and one night stands, until her sister Livie finally tells her that she can’t deal with it anymore. When their uncle tries to molest Livie, Kacey realizes that it’s time to get away and start a new life where they can put their past behind them.

I really liked Kacey because she is simultaneously strong yet vulnerable at the same time. She has suffered so much since the accident and is determined to not build any relationships because she is afraid of losing anyone close to her. This becomes increasingly difficult when she meets her neighbors–a stripper with a heart of gold and a mysterious guy that can’t seem to stay away from her. She begins to care for someone other than her sister and realizes that she can’t keep her past a secret anymore.

I loved Kacey’s bond with her sister, Livie. Kacey is determined to take care of her sister and make sure that she does well in school so that she can get into Princeton. She always puts Livie’s needs first and is very self sacrificing. What she doesn’t realize is that Livie also takes care of her in return. Livie is always keeping a close eye on Kacey because she knows that she is still suffering emotionally. Livie has had to grow up faster than usual since the accident, and both girls constantly put their sister’s needs before their own. I really loved their relationship, and it seemed to be the only thing keeping Kacey from breaking down emotionally.

Kacey starts to fall for her neighbor Trent, a handsome guy who she seems to run into everywhere. It was a little creepy how he always came to her job at the bar and just stared at her though. I liked that he genuinely seemed to want to help her deal with her emotional stress from the accident, but he did seem a little pushy at times. I had a feeling he was hiding something, but I definitely didn’t expect the twist toward the end!

Overall, Ten Tiny Breaths was a moving story about how to continue living after losing someone. I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

Ten Tiny Breaths was released on February 12, 2013 and is the first book in a series. The second book, One Tiny Lie, was released on June 11, 2013 and follows Kacey’s sister Livie when she goes off to college.

Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire“One of these days you’re going to fall in love, son. Don’t settle for just anyone. Choose the girl that doesn’t come easy; the one you have to fight for, and then never stop fighting. Never.”

Travis Maddox lost his mother when he was just a child, but as he grew older he always kept her last words of advice in the back of his mind. In college, he lives a life of drinking, gambling, and a new girl every night until he meets Abby Abernathy. When he finally meets the one girl that he has to fight for, he realizes that his mother’s last words were true.

Walking Disaster tells the love story from Beautiful Disaster from Travis’s point of view. I was both really excited and really apprehensive about this, because while I loved Beautiful Disaster and was interested in reading Travis’s side, I wasn’t so keen on reading the entire story over word for word. McGuire does a really great job with this–she kind of glosses over the scenes that were already written in the Beautiful Disaster and gives us more scenes that take place when Abby wasn’t around. The book also has a prologue, which tells the story of Travis’s mother’s death, and an epilogue that takes us way past the ending in the first book so that we get to see what the characters are doing later in life.

Beautiful Disaster was a pretty controversial book–most readers either loved it or hated it. Abby and Travis have an extremely dysfunctional relationship, but as I’ve mentioned before, I like the way McGuire handles it. When Travis starts acting controlling, Abby backs out or calls him out on it. What’s great about Walking Disaster though is that the reader is able to gain an understanding of why Travis is the way he is. His mother’s death greatly affected him and the way he views relationships, so it is much easier to understand why he makes the mistakes that he does.

What is also interesting is that I felt myself being more sympathetic to Travis in this book because reading from his point of view allowed me to realize how back and forth Abby was. Reading from Abby’s point of view and understanding her motives was very different than seeing her through Travis’s eyes–she seems to be sending him all sorts of signals and it’s no wonder he was so confused half the time. I also really liked reading the conversations between Travis and Shepley. I feel like Shepley’s character was more developed because he wasn’t just America’s boyfriend anymore–we get to see more of the role he plays in Travis’s life.

While it is not necessary to read Beautiful Disaster first, I would definitely recommend it because Walking Disaster gives the reader a much better understanding of Travis and gives an insight to what was going on with him while Abby was trying to figure out how she felt. I’m glad that this book took it further than Beautiful Disaster did and I think the epilogue provided some nice closure for the story.

Overall, Walking Disaster was a really nice followup to Beautiful Disaster and while it told the same story, it gave some new insights into Travis’s character and had a lot of scenes that we didn’t see in the first book. I definitely feel that people who didn’t like Beautiful Disaster because of Travis’s behavior may like it better after reading this because it really helps you to understand why he acts the way that he does.

Walking Disaster was released on April 2, 2013 and is the follow up novel to Beautiful Disaster. I believe that a movie is in the works also!

Trending Topics in YA: New Adult Fiction

New Adult fiction has become increasingly popular lately and a lot of new authors are also self-publishing books in this genre. New Adult typically features characters over the age of 18, usually in college and going through a different type of “coming of age” experience than what is normally seen in Young Adult fiction. A lot of people who read YA also read New Adult books, so NA tends to have a larger group of readers because people who are in their twenties and thirties tend to read NA along with the large YA audience.

I personally have very mixed views on this emerging genre–some NA books that I have read are fantastic but others are awful. Since the age range is much larger for NA books, authors can get away with more racy scenes and curse words, but some NA books just go over the top with this. For example–I started to read Wanted by Kelly Elliot a few weeks ago and I literally only got 25 pages in before I had to put it down. Aside from a multitude of grammatical mistakes and a very strange style of writing, it seemed like every other word was a curse word. I don’t have a problem most of the time with cursing in books, but in this book it was completely random and awkward and the frequency of it did not make sense at all.

Another NA book I read recently is The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski. This had much better writing than Wanted but seemed borderline Fifty Shades of Grey. This brings up another interesting point with NA fiction–there is much more sex in NA obviously, because of the age of the characters, but how much is too much? I suppose this is also a personal opinion–some people may not mind it but others may have a problem with it. It just seems that authors are using NA as an excuse to write sexier scenes, and I really don’t think this should be the sole purpose of the genre.

I have read some excellent NA books, however. Easy by Tammara Webber was a really great book with a reasonable amount of steaminess and a beautiful story. It was wonderfully written and dealt with a lot of issues in a really great way. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire is another NA book that I really loved. This book has many mixed reviews because it does touch on some controversial issues such as possessiveness and a borderline abusive relationship, but I personally liked the way McGuire deals with these issues and does not sugarcoat the story at all.

I think New Adult is definitely a genre that I am going to keep my eye on because it seems like it does have a lot of potential. Have you read any NA books recently? What are your opinions on this emerging genre?