First Impression Friday | The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

First Impression Friday is a weekly feature that I created. I’ve been finding that my opinion on a book changes a lot from when I first start reading to completion so I thought it would be really interesting to document this, and get your opinions while I do! If you want to join in link your First Impression Friday review in the Linky, grab the picture, and make sure you link back to me!

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

I’m a huge lover of YA, that and the 2015 Contemporary Challenge were all I needed to purchase The Boy Next Door and start reading!

The Boy Next Door alternates between the POV’s of Mad and Gabe, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you’ll know that I’m a fan of split narratives, so bonus points for Katie Van Ark! Mad and Gabe are a figure skating duo, and I’ll be honest, some of the technical language is completely lost on me. I watched Ice Princess religiously when I was younger, and The Boy Next Door is definitely bringing back memories of that film and my love for it, although it clearly didn’t prepare me for the technical language barriers. This isn’t a huge deal though, it just requires a spot of Googling now and then.

Now for the characters, I’m really liking Mad, she’s sweet and desperate for Gabe to commit publicly to their relationship. Gabe has issues with this and he’s keeping the relationship secret. At the moment I’m definitely siding with Mad. Gabe needs to man up and commit before Mad leaves him and his shot at a career in skating behind.

I’m enjoying Katie Van Ark’s writing style, a big must if I want to enjoy a book! The only issue I am having with it is that a lot of stuff goes unsaid. Now, I’m reading this book at stupid o’clock in the morning on the train and as I travel home, exhausted. This means that I need it to be explicit, no hints in the narrative that I’ve got to pick up on. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Other than that one teeny tiny thing I’m enjoying The Boy Next Door and I can wait to find out what happens! I really want to find out how they resolve their relationship problems. What book are you currently reading? Link your review below!

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All I Want (Alabama Summer #2) by J. Daniels | Review

Description from Goodreads:
Luke Evan is a heartbreaker.
I didn’t want to give mine to him. Not when he kept me out.
He gave me enough, just enough to make me fall in love with him. I say this to convince myself. But I know the truth.
I would’ve fallen in love with him at a distance.
Handing my heart over to Luke was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I was naive when I wished for more, when I hoped he wanted the same things I did.
I try to hate him. I try to forget him.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is a ruthless bitch, and I’m her latest victim.

Tessa Kelly is a man-eater.
When she sets her sights on you, she doesn’t just consume your heart, she goes for your soul.
What we had was perfect, real, and all I would ever want.
But she destroyed it.
She destroyed us.
I try to hate her. I try to forget her.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is for people who have hope, and I have none.

All I Want was featured in my first ever First Impression Friday right here! I really enjoyed what I’d read of All I Want when I shared my first impressions, and I can happily say that things only got better. I made no secret of how much I loved Where I Belong, the first book in the series and All I Want followed on perfectly from the POVs of Tessa and Luke. 
I liked Tessa straight away, she was brilliant in Where I Belong so it was only natural that she’d continue to amuse in the sequel. Luke is a slightly different story, he was so frustrating! He clearly loves Tessa, yet keeps insisting he hates her, all while dangling a plethora of women in front of her. Of course he hates it when she tries to do the same thing, and intervenes because he wants to and he’s a man. Luke’s open about the fact that he doesn’t feel he can handle a relationship, especially not the part where you open up, share your life with another person and rely on them for support. But he’ll happily sleep with her exclusively. Of course
Tessa wants way more than just sleeping with Luke, she wants the whole package. He leaves her heartbroken time and again after leading her on. While reading All I Want I was (and still am) listening to Taylor Swift’s new album like crazy! It’s basically been on repeat since Christmas. I was listening to Blank Space and one of the lines just instantly jumped out at as being perfect for All I Want
“Boys only want love if it’s torture”
I’m sorry, but that’s the perfect fit for All I Want in my opinion! It seemed to me that Luke obviously didn’t want to have a relationship with Tessa, but still wanted her close, torturing the hell out of her!
There was lots of tension and drama in All I Want, making for a very entertaining read. I have no issues with the book at all, I loved it and I’m so happy that it didn’t follow so many sequels and ruin the experience of the series for me.
I think it’s pretty clear that I loved All I Want. Let me know what you thought of it if you’ve read it, and if you haven’t I’d love to know your thoughts too!
‘All I Want (Alabama Summer #2)’ by J. Daniels
5 Stars

I Need You by Jane Lark | Review

Description from Goodreads:

Guilt can eat away at you, but love can cut like a knife…

Lusting after his best friend’s girlfriend is a cliche Billy knows well – it’s the tightrope he’s walked for years.
But now Jason and Lindy have broken up and Billy can’t but be there for the girl he’s from afar for so long. She’s hurting.

Fighting to find a road to the future, Lindy’s heart hurts. She’s trying to escape the truth, but Billy keeps making her face it – and it’s ugly. How can she keep living when everything is made of glass and it keeps shattering?

Her one constant is Billy. Only, rebound isn’t his style and when Lindy starts to see him in a different light, he just can’t trust her. He’s no one’s second best.
It took me a while to finish I Need You, I started it before Christmas but sadly it got forgotten about in the excitement and festivities. During my daily train journeys I discovered the Kindle App, the perfect way to read when you’re commuting, especially, if like me you have no room in your bag for a Kindle.
I didn’t particularly like the characters in I Need You, and I didn’t particularly dislike them either. For me they were very bog-standard characters, although Lindy was definitely a more interesting and complex character.
The time changes in I Need You were often very sudden and jumpy. I was reading and on minute they were just getting back from their holiday and then it was two months later. This mainly happened towards the end of the book and left me wondering if Jane Lark was trying to squeeze more in.

Have you read I Need You? Let me know what you thought in the comments!


‘I Need You’ by Jane Lark
3 Stars

Standing By (A Knight’s Tale #2) by Claudia Y. Burgoa | Review

Description from Goodreads:
Mitch Knight

 1. Loves a good challenge
2. Never turns his back on a dare
3. Loves to create nicknames
4. Nobody cooks better than him
5. Doesn’t believe in love

When Parker Welsh sells Mitch Knight his organic restaurant, Willows, he not only gives Mitch ownership; but everything entangled with it. Including the annoying pastry chef who supplies the muffins and cupcakes.

Hayley Roth-Welsh

1. Loves To-Do Lists and Five-Year Plans
2. Has her dream job of baking sweets
3. Always tries to make others happy
4. Never seems to succeed with her family
5. Is still a virgin, waiting for love

Hayley played by her mother’s rules for the first eighteen years of her life, instead of heading to college as her family expected, she rebelled and opened a bakery, Pieces of Heaven. Her family expects her to fail and head back to school and their wish may come true once Parker sells his restaurant to the handsome, arrogant Mitchel Knight. It’s either join forces with him or lose her dream.
This is a book that would have been perfect for First Impression Friday! This book was a whole load of confusing at the beginning. Seriously, talk about a crazy, messed-up family! I honestly couldn’t keep track of who everyone in Hayley’s family was, there definitely needs to be a family tree at the front of the book!
Hayley comes from a very rich family in New York, but she’s not the average rich girl spending daddy’s money. She broken away from the family expectations and opened her own bakery, being an independent woman, although that doesn’t stop her family butting in and adding their thoughts on how she should run her life. I really liked this independent side to Hayley, it really made her an interesting character, especially with the hidden vulnerability she keeps concealed as it slowly wares away at her.
In Standing By the chapters alternate between Hayley and Mitch’s POVs. I really liked Hayley’s chapters, although honestly Mitch’s did nothing for me. I felt like I gained absolutely nothing from his chapters. He’s a nice enough character, I just preferred reading about him in Hayley’s chapters rather than through his own. Maybe this all stems from the fact that a lot of the time I couldn’t differentiate between the two chapters and was completely unaware of who’s POV I was reading. In my opinion there needs to be a change in the narrative tone and the language used to distinguish between the characters. Yeah, there is a name at the beginning of each chapter, but a lot of the time I was reading on my Kindle App in the wee hours as I travelled on the train.
Standing By is a sequel, I never read the first book, but I don’t feel that I missed out on anything or that my enjoyment of the Standing By was affected. That’s why, in my opinion, you really don’t need to read the first one in order to enjoy Standing By.
One thing that bugged me throughout reading was this question — what is Mitch’s accent? There are references to him having a British accent but it was never outright stated. I would have really liked it to be a lot clearer. Other than that small issue I really liked Mitch, he sounded gorgeous (as most fictional men do) and he was so adorable and sweet behind the cocky and teasing persona.
I ended up really enjoying Standing By, it was perfect to read during my morning and evening train journeys. Have you read Standing By? Let me know what you think of it in the comments! 
‘Standing By (A Knight’s Tale #2)’ by Claudia Y. Burgoa
4 Stars

First Impression Friday | All I Want by J. Daniels

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books that have me feeling one way at the beginning, and completely differently by the end. I thought it would be really fun to document my feelings towards a book, and get your opinions on what I’m reading while I do!

I read the first in this series a while back now and as I finished and saw that there’s a sequel I knew I wanted to read it. There were two chapters cleverly built in towards the end of the book with POVs of two of the other characters. I loved it and now here I am reading the second book.
I knew I loved the characters as I’ve already followed them in Where I Belong, so there’s nothing new to report there. I already know Luke and Tessa’s back story, but there’s lots of information about their history spread throughout the beginning of the book, so it definitely seems like a book you could read alone.
Tessa and Luke broke up at the end of Where I Belong, and it was pretty clear that they were both keeping a lot hidden from each other. This is definitely clear already, the alternating chapters between the POVs is working really well to reveal how they each feel about the other and their relationship. Tessa wants more than Luke’s willing to give, although he is crazy about her. 
The plots’s definitely following the path I thought it would, but I’m not annoyed by the predictability as I really like the characters. One thing to note about All I Want is that there’s a whole load of sex, whether they’re doing it or just talking about it, it doesn’t really bother me but I know it can be a deal breaker for some people.
I’m going to continue reading All I Want, I really like the characters and I want to see how they sort out their messed up relationship. Have you read All I Want? Let me know what you think!

Roomies by Lindy Zart | Review

Description from Goodreads:

Graham Malone is my roommate, my personal eye candy, the reason I get up in the morning smiling (that could be from the illicit dreams I have about him too, I suppose. Let’s move on). He’s also beautiful to look at, but his heart is where his true beauty lies. Take away the exterior and the interior still shines.

I love him. I mean, I’m pretty sure I do, having never been in love before. Anyway, it seems legit.

And now his brother Blake is here, and, well, he’s the complete opposite of Graham. Sarcastic, brooding, and totally available. But he’s leaving soon, and Graham’s the one I want. I shouldn’t have to remind myself of this, right? I wouldn’t have to if Blake would quit looking at me like I’m something yummy and he’s starving.

Here’s a toast to roomies; the ones you should never fall in love with. Or something.

I’m going to put it out there straight away that I liked Blake a whole lot more than Graham (when I was writing this I referred to him as ‘the other guy’ cause I just couldn’t remember his name, I think that tells you a lot). And seeing as Kennedy ends up with Graham I think that says a lot about how I felt about the book. Blake is definitely the type of character that I like and gravitate towards, he’s the ultimate bad boy, tall, dark, handsome and troubled. What more does a girl want? Apparently Kennedy didn’t agree, her long time love for Graham outweighed any potential in the Blake-Kennedy department. 
I’m not sure how I felt about Kennedy, I pretty much hated her as soon as I started reading. The first few pages really didn’t do it for me and I actually felt a little disappointed. I carried on regardless, cause that’s the kind of gal I am, and I eventually warmed to Kennedy. She’s an in your face character, boisterous and sarcastic. Apparently she has an ugly nose, she makes quite a big deal about hating it, yet it’s only mentioned that one time. Kennedy is a classic case of a girl with daddy issues, in her case her daddy didn’t know how to show his love for a daughter so just pretended she was his son. This was probably meant to add depth to her character, honestly though I found it annoying and predictable. Blake and Graham had a whole lot more depth to their characters, which we eventually learn about as they both open up to Kennedy. 
I wasn’t too bothered by the ending of Roomies, I would like to read more of Blake as he was the only character I can honestly say I liked. 
Have you read Roomies? Let me know what you thought in the comments! As always I’d love you to follow me on Bloglovin’
‘Roomies’ by Lindy Zart
3 Srars

Just For Christmas by Scarlett Bailey | Review

Description from Goodreads:
Her best friend’s wedding…

When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants to be is alone – and as far away from Edinburgh as possible.

Moving to a Cornish cottage, which comes complete with the world’s scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas activities.

I’ve had a run of bad luck with books recently and I wanted to ditch the funk and find a fun and feel good Christmas romance. Just For Christmas was certainly that. Immediately you enter Alex’s POV as she arrives in Cornwall at the dead of night. I liked Alex instantly, she’s a hilarious character and I loved her and Poldore, although why she loved Marcus I’ll never know. 
Just For Christmas made me laugh out loud, a pretty rare occurrence if I’m being honest. Alex is a lovely character, she’s humorous and very real. I don’t have anything bad to say about Just For Christmas, there were none of the usual romance shortcomings to be found which was a huge relief!
It’s pretty clear that Ruan has the hots for Alex. The guy clearly likes her, although his broken heart makes him wary of jumping into love too quickly. Obviously Alex has no idea that she’s the object of Ruans affections until he all but tells her. This naïveté of Alex was sweet and not at all cliché. 
The standout character in the book for me is hands down Buoy. Yep, he’s a doggy, but we all know that they can be the best companions. 
I really enjoyed Just For Christmas, it’s exactly what I was looking for. If you’ve got any Christmas book recommendations then I’d love to hear them! As always it’d be great if you follow me on Instagram and Bloglovin’
‘Just For Christmas’ by Scarlett Bailey
4 Stars