Estelle: My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron

My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea CameronMy Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Pages: 400
Target audience: New adult
Keywords: college, secrets, love/hate relationship
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley (Thanks!)

Summary: Taylor’s sophomore year has a surprising beginning when she finds out housing has paired her with the tattooed Hunter. She immediately can’t stand him and the way he looks at her, and she’s not sure how she can get through the year with him living in her room. Still reeling from an event that happened during her childhood, she has put up a lot of walls but no matter where she seems to turn, Hunter is right behind her. Will she lose control and fall for him? Does he have some secrets of his own?

I haven’t had the best luck with “new adult” books. There are already so many books I love with college-aged characters without slapping a label on it. But that was before the cliche of new adult began. The bad boy, the smart girl, the sex, and more than likely, the secrets from their past.

I know My Favorite Mistake seems to check off all of those things one by one, but after a decent Publishers Weekly review, I decided to give it a whirl. I’m happy to say that Cameron certainly gave me the well-rounded characters I’ve been looking for in this genre. Taylor is a self-sufficient sophomore in college who loves to read (she works in the library) and is super close to her sister. While Hunter may be tattooed and hot (even Taylor comments how typical this is), he can cook up a storm, play Taylor Swift on his guitar, and is really good with kids.

When they get stuck in the same room together (though Hunter doesn’t see it this way), Taylor is beyond bothered and Hunter comes up with a simple solution: prove to me that you either love or hate me and I’ll move out for good.

I never did get this ultimatum. It was so open-ended, but oh well. It seems Taylor is sort of scratching her head over it too and the tension between the two, the sweltering chemistry, builds and builds and builds until I thought I was going to crack. Cameron definitely excels in the slow burn romance, lighting little fires here and there. All their friends know they are into each other but they resist for so long.

There is the bad stuff though. Hunter and Taylor bond over their pasts, even though they don’t know each other’s stories. When they realize they both have pretty bad nightmares, some of their baggage seems to give way and they start to form (gasp!) a friendship. (Not without that whole attraction thing though.)

Unfortunately, more than halfway of the book, a book that I was more than addicted to and couldn’t stop thinking about, My Favorite Mistake lost a little steam. Was the book too long? Probably. Why did Taylor and Hunter speed things up when they took so so long to get somewhere? I have no idea. The reveals of the secrets didn’t bother me as much as the sudden caricatures Taylor and Hunter became. I needed them to put on the brakes a bit.

As far as New Adult goes, I’m definitely going to keep up with Cameron and what she writes next. My Favorite Mistake really had a ton of promise and kept me preoccupied throughout a lot of travel time, and I’m hoping she takes the plunge in book 2.

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Estelle: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn SchneiderThe Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Katharine Tegan (HarperTeen)
Pages: 330
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: high school, debate team, secrets
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss. (Thanks!)

Summary: A car accident catapults Ezra into a very different senior year than he imagined: debate team instead of tennis, rekindling old friendships and making new ones instead of manning his spot at the popular crowd’s table, and a connection to a girl who challenges him and makes him want more.

Did you ever find yourself in a group of people who were talking about something totally over your head and all you could do is just stand there, nodding and smiling?

That’s kind of how I felt when I was reading The Beginning of Everything. I didn’t connect with golden-boy-turned outcast, Ezra, as much as I wanted to. (This might have had something to do with him narrating the story after it happened. The events and after thoughts felt too polished.) And when the quirky Cassie was thrown into the mix, the tone of the story got a little haughty. The literary references, the tid-bits of trivia, and reciting poetry to make a point? I found myself just not relating to the way they communicated with one another, and I wish all of these tidbits felt more down-to-earth.

Schneider does excel when it comes to the chemistry between Ezra and Cassie (a mysterious attraction that reminded me of John Green’s Looking for Alaska) and the rekindled friendship between Ezra and Toby. After years of blending into the popular crowd, I loved that Ezra was able to reconnect with his geeky self and accept that that part of him would always exist. Toby was a loyal friend; the years of silence between them were just water under the bridge. He never held any grudges even though Ezra could have been a better friend.

Also: the Disneyland scenes (minus the earliest one) sprinkled in every once in awhile were awesome.

There are two twists at the end: one of them totally broke my heart and the other one, well, I think it tied things together a bit too perfectly. I never once suspected the second twist, but I think the book could have easily worked without it. (Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing.) The Beginning of Everything may not have been a perfect read for me, but I am looking forward to see Schneider come into her own as a writer in her next books.

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Nailed It: August 2013 Book Releases + Pretty Colors

Every time, we throw one of these posts together… we can’t believe another month is come to a close. August 2013 Book Releases? So crazy how fast the summer is going. Hope you are enjoying all your books and painting your nails!

Last month, we changed things up and used Zoya colors to make some book cover palettes. We gave one of our colors away, and Jennifer won and picked an awesome red called Diana! She sent us a picture of her gorgeous manicure!

Zoya Diana from Nailed It Rather Be Reading Blog winner

Doesn’t it look fantastic?

Jumping back to this month, we’re back to the rainbow of Julep colors out there and hope you enjoy what we came up with this time around!

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Estelle.

The Hero by Robyn Carr

Nailed It The Hero by Robyn Carr August 2013, part of Thunder Point series

This is actually the first “big kid” book I’ve picked to feature for Nailed It! The books in Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series have such dreamy covers, and when I first spotted The Hero… I was just so taken with how gorgeous the colors were. It’s such a striking cover, and from all the rumors I’m hearing, it’s the best in the series so far. (Yes!!)

Unlike other romance novels I’ve read recently, Carr’s Thunder Point series jumps from various people in town rather than focusing on just one person’s story. I like this a lot because you can really invest yourself in the characters and don’t feel like you are missing too much when you move to another book. In The Hero, we have a new football coach, a young boy who just found out who is bio dad is, and a lot more hi-jinx. I can’t wait to get started.

As for the color palette, purple has always been one of my favorite colors + I just love the shades here. Perfect for the summer but also workable for the transition to the fall.

Alaina | Gabrielle | Alice

Magan.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

cover love for counting by 7s by holly goldberg sloan

I haven’t read a book by Holly Goldberg Sloan yet, but I’d like to change that right now. I’ve heard amazing accolades sung for this particular book. “It should win awards” has been one of the best endorsements I’ve heard for it. That means a lot, right?

Plus, this cover is ridiculously awesome. I’m so in love with the color combination and the layout. If you walked into my house, you wouldn’t be surprised to find these colors accenting our home. I’m so drawn to them! I love the pops of color on the clean white background. And the typography? Nice, simple, understated. I sent this ARC to Estelle after I went to ALA and I can’t *wait* to hear what she thinks about it. This might be a pre-order book for me soon!

Lena | Jackie | Harper

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So tell us what you think of our Nailed It selections for August!
What covers are you guys loving right now and what books are you anxious
to get your hands on this coming month?