Undeclared by Julianna Keyes
I loved Undecided last year, LOVED. Despite that however, I was a little bit wary about Undeclared. I mean I was excited about it, but part of me was very nervous because I just wasn’t that big of a fan of Kellan. He was a manwhore and a really gross one at that – I know I shouldn’t judge but he slept with 63 women and most of whose names he couldn’t even bother to remember. That’s not swoony book boyfriend material. Still, I wanted to read this one at least for the Nora and Crosbie cameos. For the most part, I thought this book was okay, but I wasn’t as impressed as I hoped I would be. I think my dislike for Kellan really played a role in that. We (thankfully) don’t see him acting as a complete dickhead here, but even though his STD scare forces him to re-evaluate his life, I didn’t find him to be particularly likeable. I did warm up to him by the end, but again, I wasn’t blown away by his character by any means. I really really think this book could have benefited from Andi’s POV to balance out Kellan’s. She was the better character for me, and I enjoyed getting to know her. As far as the romance goes, I felt conflicted. I thought Andi and Kellan had great chemistry together, and I loved all their scenes together as well. However, I would have liked to see more flashbacks of them as friends. This is a second-chance romance, after all, and for those to be successful for me, I need to see the connection between the two. I also felt like there was a serious lack of communication between Kellan and Andi. So many times, I just wanted them to talk it out and figure their shit out together, which led to major frustration on my part. I did really like the secondary characters. It was nice to see Nora and Crosbie again, and some of the newer characters as well were very charming. There’s no doubt that Keyes has a very addicting writing style, but Undeclared just wasn’t entirely the book for me because of personal preferences. I still recommending picking up Undecided 100% however and I will always look back on it fondly.
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
I like Sophie Kinsella’s book a lot, but I don’t think My Not So Perfect Life was all-that for me. I guess I’m so used to Kinsella’s books being laugh-out-loud funny and also romantic, and there wasn’t much of that here. I do think that if you change your expectations a little bit, this is a book you could enjoy. Katie was a likeable enough heroine. I admired how driven she was though I can’t say I understood why she so desperately wanted to fit in in London and had to basically undergo a persona change to be happy. When she loses her job and moves back in with her dad, she became a bit more likeable to me. I liked seeing how hard she was willing to work, but then the weird revenge-on-the-boss story on Demeter was introduced and I wasn’t a fan. The romance with Alex didn’t fully work for me, mostly because we barely got to know him as a character. I would have liked to see him and Katie be more open with each other, and just generally, I would have liked more scenes between them. I did think that Katie underwent some growth and grew a better understanding of the meaning of success as the story progressed, but it was all just so cliched. Usually, Kinsella’s books are so ridiculous, but also really entertaining. While I was reading My Not So Perfect Life, I didn’t laugh once and I just wanted the story to be over with. If you’re new to Kinsella, pick something else as your first read. I highly recommend Can You Keep a Secret or The Undomestic Goddess.
Playing With Trouble by Joya Ryan
I have liked a few Joya Ryan books in the past and I liked the sound of this new book, so I didn’t hesitate to request a copy. Again, this wasn’t all that for me and I wound up being very frustrated at how much time was wasted on sex scenes. I’m all for sexy times in books, but I want to see equal attention being given to actually building up the relationship between the couple too. I didn’t think that we saw enough of that here. It’s a bummer because Jake and Laura had an incredible hate-to-love dynamic going on and I feel like if more time had been spent fleshing out their relationship, this book could have been really really great. I wasn’t all that fond of the main characters here either, unfortunately. I found Laura to be a little self-centered at times and I really did hate how she went ahead and made spending decisions without consulting Jake. Jake was decent enough, but again, not fully fleshed out, but he had the potential to be a good character. Overall, Playing With Trouble was a miss for me. There is something as TOO MUCH sexy times in a romance novel.