Tag Archives: contemporary summer fling

Summer Contemporary Fling – Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

23492282Title: Nowhere But Here

Author: Katie McGarry

Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Huge thank you to Harlequin Teen and Edelweiss for this ARC!

 

Sam’s Review:

I am generally a big fan of Katie McGarry’s romance novels — in fact she one of the few romance authors that I enjoy. Part of what I love about McGarry’s writing is that she captures teens very well, especially those coming from rougher situations, be it broken families, abuse, and violent life styles, and does it with a lot of honesty.

While that exists in the first instalment of her new Thunder Road series, I admit, I struggled a lot with Nowhere But Here. I found the book got off to a very rocky start and it had a hard time picking up its stride, even towards the middle. Normally I am quite the fan of McGarry’s female protagonists, and generally I find I often struggle with her male ones (though they usually in the end win me over). This was not the case with Emily or Oz, sadly.

I didn’t find either protagonist easy to connect with, and I found myself annoyed by their behaviours and mannerisms. While I found Emily got better later on in the story, I never ended up liking Oz. In fact, the majority of the novel I just despised him, and for the life of me I couldn’t see what Emily saw in him. Even when both characters redeemed themselves in the story it was still too late for me. I just didn’t enjoy the romance between them at all.

And yet, what kept me going was the story itself. When the novel was looking at Emily and Oz’s family issues, it was so fascinating and interesting. While a lot of it is nothing new, once again Katie McGarry does this fantastic job of making you feel empathy for those in a rough situation, and learning about Eli, Olivia, Razor, the gang, you get a sense of family, as well as a sense of fear. They don’t know how to function without each other, and as much as I didn’t like Emily or Oz, I found that when the novel focused on family aspects, it was the parts that would win me over.

Nowhere But Here is not a bad novel at all, and I think it will find it’s audience with ease. For me, I just had a hard time with the main characters and the romance, and yet I still found enjoyment with other aspects in the overall story. The book really does get off to a rocky start, but I am interested to see where she goes in book two, since y’know, Razor, is the protagonist this time. Even though I felt disappointed by this book, I am still willing to give the sequel a shot.

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Summer Contemporary Fling – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

23305614Title: Finding Audrey

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Huge thank you to Delacorte Books for Young Readers/Doubleday Canada and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

THIS BOOK WAS SO CUTE! And quite hilarious. I was actually sitting there smiling and laughing out loud quite a few times! I read this in less than a day and actually finished it while my husband was sleeping (and had to keep my laughing inside, so hard!!!).

For some reason I thought this book took place in NYC and was about Audrey getting lost and having to overcome her anxiety while her brother searched for her. YEAH IDK WHERE THAT PLOT CAME FROM but I was quite surprised (and pleased!) that it took place in England! Thankfully I have enough British friends and have watched enough BBC that I didn’t have any trouble with some of the British English and culture things.

So I really loved the family in this book. I loved how over-the-top the mom was, how the dad was so clueless in such a sweet way, how Frank was so different than his mother thought, and how just down right ridiculous the little brother, Felix, was (he was also my favorite character. POCKET PAPER!)

I also really enjoyed the exploration of Audrey’s anxiety and how everyone handled it. I liked how her doctor was thoughtful and caring but tough at the same time. How it was referred to as an illness and the different perceptions that those around her had about what an anxiety illness is. I liked how Linus learned what to say and not say and how he was wrong and then right and helpful. How he learned and changed his perception. And I really liked that we never actually found out what happened at Audrey’s school. Because really, what triggered her illness doesn’t matter. It was not her fault and she had every right to keep that to herself.

As my co-blogger, who is a gamer, mentions in her review, the aspect of gaming in this book was well done. I’m not a gamer and I don’t really understand it the way that gamers do, but I’ve always been on the side that it is just a hobby and not your life and that it should be done in moderation. I don’t think gaming is bad, but I do think that Frank was in a little too deep. I think his mom was WAY too extreme but could also understand why she thought the way she did. I LOVED that every time she’d try to make Frank do something she didn’t think he could do he was brilliant at it. And that outside of her obsession with his “gaming addiction” she didn’t really know key things about him; like being on the cross-country team or getting A’s in his classes. I loved that she learned these things about him and that in the end gaming became a positive thing. But I also liked that Frank found outside interests that he also probably wouldn’t have if he’d stayed parked in front of the computer all the time.

Over all this book was just so well done and I think everyone should check it out! It very much a quick Summer Contemporary Fling!

Sam’s Review: 

I confess, I haven’t read a Sophie Kinsella book in years. I thought Shopaholic was cute for awhile, and some of her stand-alones were hit and miss with me. Then I read the synopsis for Finding Audrey, and I knew I needed to read this book. It focuses on an anxiety disorder, something I have a close relationship with being a recovering sufferer myself, and wow, Kinsella does an amazing job.

Finding Audrey is hilarious as it is touching. I found Audrey as a heroine to be quite loveable, sweet, struggling to come out of her shell. She was easy to empathize with, someone I could relate to in a lot of ways. She feels powerless over her anxiety, yet she wants to feel normal, and it’s something she must fight through every day. I loved the level of sensitivity that Kinsella puts forth in the story, she by no means makes anything easy for Audrey, from her overprotective, nutjobby mother, to her very-lost-all-the-time dad, to her attention hogging brother. Audrey has a lot to fight for in the story, and for ali the tougher moments in her life, it’s balanced by a great sense of humour.

I actually snortgiggled a few times through this book. Audrey’s mother is just completely insane, but we all know one like her. Frank was also a barrel of laughs with his sarcasm and “gaming addiction.” To be honest, I loved how Kinsella handled gaming, changing it from a negative to a positive. The documentary bits had some great moments as well, both charming and sweet. The ending had me in stitches, and I loved Audrey’s resolve by the end. There was something so bittersweet in how the story transforms considering the book is less than three hundred pages. I also have to comment on Linus — I actually really enjoyed him as a romantic interest, and I loved the level of patience he had for Audrey. That’s such a rare thing to find in a partner, especially when their loved one suffers from a mental illness.

I adored Finding Audrey. It was sweet, fluffy, and the way Kinsella handles Audrey’s illness was fantastically done. It felt genuine, not forced, which I feel is so important to make a story like this work. If you haven’t been reading Sophie Kinsella, this may be the one that might bring you back. I know it did for me.

Summer Contemporary Fling – The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids22840182

Author:  Sarah Ockler

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

Huge thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

I fell in love with Sarah Ockler’s writing when I blew through #Scandal last year, and was SO excited when I got approved for this! I was a little worried that #Scandal might have been a one-hit-wonder for me (I wasn’t the biggest fan of Twenty Boy Summer, another one of Ockler’s books) but nope! This book was so good and I flew through it in less than two days.

The little mermaid retelling aside (but let me just say that I loved all of TLM references!) this was a solid book about finding you voice. Almost everyone in this book is oppressed somehow. Elyse literally cannot speak because of an accident that damaged her vocal chords. Christian is oppressed by his father. Sebastian is shoved into a box and nobody will listen to him. Lemon is outside of the norm. Even the fathers can’t speak due to their pride. I loved that there WERE characters that could speak though. Vanessa was loud and outspoken, her mother killed me when she took a stand for Sebastian, and Kirby is always talking, about everything and everyone. In one sense Kirby is everyone’s voice.

Elyse is from the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. I know very little about these Caribbean islands and their culture, but I never once felt that Ockler was making things up. And she’s an author I trust to do her research. I enjoyed how Elyse was familiar with the USA, but at the same time had her difficulties with the culture and customs. Since I don’t know how different her homeland is, it’s hard for me to judge, but I felt that her situation was very realistic. People often commented about how she was so withdrawn from everyone and not only was she dealing with the loss of her voice, the trouble with her sister, but she was also living in a new country. Her behavior seemed legit.

I loved all of the characters in this. Kirby and Vanessa were perfect friends. Christian was swoony and sweet and sexy. Sebastian stole my heart. Lemon was so unique and quirky. And Elyse was so smart and insightful. I’ve never read a book where the MC literally cannot speak, and it was very interesting to see the ways she communicated. Sure we were in her head, but dialogue is huge for me!

There were so many times this book made me smile too. I was just reading along, smiling and it hit me that there aren’t THAT many books that make me ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY SMILE. And I loved it.

This book is just… perfect. It hits all the right notes and addresses a lot of issues in the current world and in current YA. It’s the perfect blend of diverse and swoony and touches on a lot of subjects that I really feel are important to open up dialogues about. And I hope that this book will get people talking.

Sam’s Review:

Oh my goodness, if this is what reading a Sarah Ockler book is like, sign me up for more. Yes, this is my first Sarah Ockler book, and I can honestly say without a doubt that I am going to be diving into her back cataloguing this summer. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is the perfect beach read. I realize it’s silly to say that since this is a book about mermaids, beaches and summer, but honestly, there was something so relaxing about this novel. It might also be because it’s based off of The Little Mermaid, a tale near and dear to my heart, that I gravitated to this book with such ease.

Elyse is a brilliant heroine, and I absolutely adored her character. She’s clever, curious, and a lot smarter than she initially lets on. This book focuses on the theme of finding your inner voice and having the courage to speak up. Elyse spends a lot of the novel trying to find herself and her strength, though she’s quite unsure of herself throughout the story. This overlaying message that Ockler puts in the novel is very thought provoking throughout. Heck, I generally don’t like playboy characters, but I admittedly adored Christian, if only because his curiosity sometimes borderlined on nosey, and yet there are so many parts of the story where he means so well.

My favourite character, interestingly enough was Kirby. She’s one of those overprotective friends who wants what’s best for everyone yet doesn’t realize that it’s not always the best approach to have when dealing with people. The more I read the book, the more I loved a lot of the secondary characters, which doesn’t always happen with me, but everyone in the story is quite lovable or interesting. It made for a real page turner.

Plus, I want to share the fact that I loved Ockler’s Acknowledgements that were at the back of the book. I loved who this story was for, why she wrote it, and who she in way wanted to represent. Furthermore, I loved her depictions of Trinidad and Tobago, and I felt like when she was description the islands that I felt like I was truly there. Also, can I also just say how much I loved Elyse and Christian’s romance? Because it was totally believable and adorable and I loved it so much.

Let’s be honest here, this book is very emotional to read and it’s the kind of emotions that are hard to hide in public (I was reading this book at a bus station, yeaaaah). Still, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is just one of those stories that is not only emotionally gripping, but it keeps you guessing in unexpected ways. Plus the ending completely wrecked me, and I mean that. It just destroyed me emotionally. I highly recommend this book, not only as a fantastic summer read, but just one that will keep you thinking even after it’s over.

Summer Contemporary Fling! – Introduction

Two years ago, River and I decided we wanted to read two solid months’ worth of contemporary novels together. Thus Contemporary Summer Fling was born! Unfortunately last year, both of us were in insane situations (River moving back to America, I was getting married) and the event just didn’t take off. This year, however, we’ve decided to bring it back into full swing! The event runs from June 2nd to July 28th and we are encouraging others to read some of these gems with us. With a mix of new releases and older titles we’ve both been meaning to get to, we hope many of you will join us for discussion! Whether it’s by comment, or using the hashtag #scfreadalong, or just even tweeting us! And yes, at the beginning of July, there will be a giveaway for some of these wonderful reads.

Here’s the upcoming schedule of what we’ll be reading, reviewing, and potentially fangirling
over. This can help you figure out when a book likely should be read by, though the discussions/review posts will be open throughout so don’t feel like you have to participate on an exact schedule (that’s our job! :P).

June 2 – The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (Releases on that day)

June 9 – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (Releases that day)

June 16 – Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry

June 23 – Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

June 30 – 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

July 7 – Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

July 14 – The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

July 21 – Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

July 28 – Winger by Andrew Smith


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What do you think of our choices? Are there some of these you own and are dying to read? Did you manage to get an ARC of the three above that have yet to release? Whatever the case is, we hope you’ll join us in some contemporary beach reading fun. Though, I admit, I have a funny feeling a few of these many just leave me with all the emotional feels (Trish Doller and Emery Lord, I am LOOKING AT YOU). Let us know if you want to participate or if you’re interested in our picks in the comments. We’d love to hear from you guys!

Contemporary Summer Fling: Going Vintage

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Title: Going Vintage
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Rating: ★★★
Synopsis: When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

Sam’s Review:

3.5

Going Vintage was a book I bought on a whim because I loved the concept of a girl ditching technology and trying to survive without. Sure, she does it it first because of her douche boyfriend, but watching her develop throughout the novel is surprisingly entertaining and hilarious.

Mallory’s voice for the most part is quite magnetic. She’s sassy, a bit full of herself, and she feels somewhat entitled in her behavior. Generally these are not qualities I enjoy in people (characters yes, people no), but for me it worked. Mallory’s ex is a complete douche, he’s equally as entitled as she is, and it’s just funny to watch them dance around that part of their behaviour throughout the story.

Enter in Oliver who is… okay, I suppose. His character felt very flat to me and I never found myself deeply caring about him the way I think Leavitt wanted the reader to. It’s weird but neither male lead swept me off my feet while I was reading the story, and I guess for me that was a bit of a drawback for the novel. Mallory is so cute with her merit-badges and lists, she’s quirky enough to keep the narrative moving without killing the overall pacing, and yet the romance aspects just didn’t jive with me. How this novel starts is SO PERFECT and funny, so I felt let down when I didn’t fall in love with Oliver myself. I’m not an insta-love gal (very much the opposite) and I love that their relationship has development, I just wish his character didn’t feel so… perfect at times.

One thing I wish this novel explored more was the family elements. Family plays a huge role in this story, yet certain situations felt resolved too quickly and neatly. The one with her mother spying on her? There should have been more to tying that thread up better. The one that I loved was her relationship with her grandmother and the other family. I thought that was fabulous all around.

Going Vintage will have its readers that will think its perfect. Despite my problems with the story, I really did love the narration, Mallory and just the sheer silliness of the story in spots. It’s a fun read, especially a good one when you’re not looking to put in too much brain power. It has cuteness and fluff and it does it very well. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a lighter read.

River’s review:

3.5

This is another ‘ditto’ review. I agree with EVERYTHING that Sam said, and totally feel the same. I love that we both gave it a 3.5 rating as well.

So a few more thoughts from me…

Something that I didn’t like about the book was how at the beginning Mallory doesn’t even seem like she WANTS to be with her ex-boyfriend. I mean, we get a list of reasons why she doesn’t want to make out with him and how she tries to get out of it. That really doesn’t scream ‘I am in love with my boyfriend of over a year’ to me. So I didn’t really have much sympathy for her when she found out that he was ‘cheating’.

Also, I loved the use of lists in the book, but Mallory’s lists SUCKED. They weren’t ‘list-y’ enough, if you get what I mean. Like, a list is supposed to be bullet points with short sentences to let you remember what you wanted to do. Her lists were all just… too long. Too full of information. Too not-list-like. It bugged me, and it’s probably stupid, but this book was BASED on a list, and I felt that these lists weren’t good enough (this is coming from a huge list-er).

And the whole Grandma story line… interesting, but it felt so out of place, and just… too much. We could have gone without grandma’s secret and just focused on her relationship with her Grandma (which I LOVED since I was VERY close to my own Grandma).

So overall, this book was cute, but fell a bit flat for me in some places, hence the lower rating.

This Song Will Save Your Life
The Moon and More
In Honor
Smart Girls Get What They Want
Also Known As
The Trouble With Flirting
The Distance Between Us

Well guys… this is the end! August is over, and summer is winding down. Our fling with contemporary novels might not be over, but I know that I am getting a little tired of the hot and ready for some cooler weather, hot spiced latte, and tall boots again.

Sam and I both hope you enjoyed this series! We hope to do more events like this in the future.

AND DON’T FORGET TO ENTER OUR GIVE AWAY!!! You could win one of these fabulous books!!!!

Contemporary Summer Fling: The Distance Between Us

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Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Rating: ★★★★
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Sam’s Review:

4.5 stars

Kasie West impressed me with Pivot Point earlier this year, but The Distance Between Us really proved to me that she is an author to watch out for. Her writing has such a personable quality to it that it’s easy to fall in love with her characters and relate to the situations which she presents themselves with.

I adored Caymen — her dry sense of humor, her awkward mannerisms, it’s so funny and genuine. She’s someone who reacts very naturally to a lot of situations. One thing I loved about her character was how sure she was of her own personality and traits, yet when it came to the world around her, she was unsure, yet honest with what she can and can’t have in her life. She reminds me a bit of myself in that her mother is her world, especially in time of loss and abandonment. I found a lot of her troubles resonated with me, and it was easy to connect with her.

I also loved the secondary characters as well, especially her mother and Mrs. Dalton in particular. I thought Mrs. Dalton was both humorous and quite the mentor at times, where as Susan (Caymen’s mother)… I just saw a lot of my own mom in her, so I had a lot of sympathy for her as the story progressed. Xander took awhile to grow on me, but I feel like West made that the point of this story. He wasn’t meant to be likable right away, and his behaviour towards the ending? I wanted to slap him. At the same time, I get what she was doing with his character and he did ultimately win me over. The only thing I didn’t like was how things were neatly wrapped up into a bow at the end, but I accepted it because I did want Xander and Caymen to be together because I do think they work quite well as a pair.

The Distance Between Us has such engrossing writing that it’s easy to keep turning the pages. It’s fast, engaging, and emotional ride, and it does an amazing job of making you feel connected to characters, particularly Caymen and Susan. This is a book I will no doubt crave a reread for, because the narrative is just that thoughtful. Kasie West is a talented writer who knows how to connect her audience, and I look forward to reading more of her work as she continues to grow as a writer.

River’s Review:

4 stars

Basically, ditto to Sam’s review. Only for me I’m not 100% on the Kasie West love train (more like 90% on it, lol). I liked her books, but neither of them blew me away like they have just about every-other-blogger-ever. Pivot Point was good, but there was WAY too much football for me. And I loved this book, but like Sam said, the ending was wrapped up a bit TOO neatly.

I DO think that her writing will grow a lot and I can’t wait to read her future books!

The best thing about this book though, was Caymen, hand’s down. I loved her voice.

This Song Will Save Your Life
The Moon and More
In Honor
Smart Girls Get What They Want
Also Known As
The Trouble With Flirting

AND DON’T FORGET TO ENTER OUR GIVE AWAY!!! You could win one of these fabulous books!!!!

Contemporary Summer Fling: The Trouble with Flirting

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Title: The Trouble with Flirting
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Rating:
Synopsis: Franny’s supposed to be working this summer, not flirting. But you can’t blame her when guys like Alex and Harry are around. . . .

Franny Pearson never dreamed she’d be attending the prestigious Mansfield Summer Theater Program. And she’s not, exactly. She’s working for her aunt, the resident costume designer. But sewing her fingers to the bone does give her an opportunity to spend time with her crush, Alex Braverman. If only he were as taken with the girl hemming his trousers as he is with his new leading lady.

When Harry Cartwright, a notorious flirt, shows more than a friendly interest in Franny, she figures it can’t hurt to have a little fun. But as their breezy romance grows more complicated, can Franny keep pretending that Harry is just a carefree fling? And why is Alex suddenly giving her those deep, meaningful looks? In this charming tale of mixed messages and romantic near-misses, one thing is clear: Flirting might be more trouble than Franny ever expected.

Sam’s review: The Trouble With Flirting is my first foray into Claire LaZebnik’s work, and I have to say: she managed to win me over. As a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, I feel like LaZebnik does a great job of breathing life into the characters with contemporary style. While I do not hate Mansfield Park, I admit to the fullest that I found it to be Jane Austen’s most difficult book to read. However, I feel like you get all the selfish, neurotic behaviors highlighted splendidly in this novel, just as you do in Austen’s classic.

Let’s me throw this out there: I didn’t feel like anyone is truly likeable in Mansfield Parkand this definitely gets carried over into The Trouble With Flirting. Selfishness and popularity are the true motivations of a lot of the characters, except for Franny (Fanny) Pearson. Franny just wants to enjoy what life has to offer and not constantly be reminded that because she’s poor and at the bottom of the food chain.

I loved LaZebnik’s portrayal of the cast. She reminds us how horrific, selfish and self-absorbed a lot of the characters are, but she humanizes them in such ways that you hate them, but you also understand their motivations and mannerism a touch more clearly. Franny seems like less of a doormat compared to Fanny, as she is able to speak her mind more and push herself to become a stronger, more well versed person, unlike FannyMansfield Park, where it takes a good chunk of the novel before she truly finds her balls. I admit though, I love the growth that Austen gives Fanny, because you understand and see how truly hopeless her situation is, unlike Franny, who doesn’t recognize that it’s hopeless, but rather she refuses to let it become that.

I will admit, I wasn’t huge on Alex or Harry. Although there’s a love triangle in this story, it’s one that I found myself enjoying. Franny is not perfect, she has two boys to choose from, one who is her middle-school crush, and the other who is a notorious flirt. Truthfully, I HATED Edmund in Austen’s classic, and I never liked that he simply “realizes he loves Fanny” (to me that comes across more like he simply settles for her), but here we see LaZebnik give Harry a bit more personality, and he doesn’t just settle for Franny, but he grows to love and accept who she is. Alex comes across more of a doormat compared to Harry, but I think LaZebnik justifies that behavior for him considering Isabella is kind of a diva, wanting the world to bend over backwards. I love how at the end of the novel Isabella exposes who she really is, and it’s so perfectly handled that I actually liked her character a lot in the end.

This may be my first Clarie LaZebnik’s work, and first Jane Austen retelling, but I know on both accounts it won’t be my last on either front. I feel like LaZebnik did an amazing job being completely true to the source material, while also taking liberties when necessary to make Mansfield Park work in the confines of her story. It has its slow moments, but once the story hits its stride, it soars. I loved LaZebnik’s portrayal of characters, I loved how she incorporated it into a contemporary story. The Trouble With Flirting is such an engaging and fluffy read, and I look forward to checking out the rest of Clarie LaZebnik’s books.

Did you read THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING? If you did what did you think? We’d love to talk about it in the comments! Also link us to your reviews! And don’t forget to check out last few Flings with:

This Song Will Save Your Life
The Moon and More
In Honor
Smart Girls Get What They Want
Also Known As

AND DON’T FORGET TO ENTER OUR GIVE AWAY!!! You could win one of these fabulous books!!!!