Over the past few months, I’ve been lucky (lucky?) enough to receive a whole bunch of books for free. Some from work, some from ARCs, and some that I won in contests. None of them were terrible. But none of them were terrific.
Lucky in Love by Kasie West
Maddie is about to turn 18, and on a whim, she buys herself a lottery ticket. She wins millions of dollars and suddenly everything changes. Her parents don’t fight quite so much anymore. Her depressed brother might get off the couch and go back to college. She has more friends at school and a shiny new car. Everyone is treating her differently, except for her friend Seth Nguyen, who she works with at the zoo.
As Maddie and Seth fall for each other, she struggles to figure out who her real friends are and who is just interested in her money.
Look, the crush between Seth and Maddie was cute. Seth seemed like a cool kid. BUT EVERYTHING ELSE infuriated me.
The fact that not a single adult tried to get her to manage her money in a responsible way literally gave me anxiety. When she bought a corvette and had a party on a yacht, I could barely keep reading.
Her parents and her brother were the worst. I hope at the end of the book she decided to emancipate herself from them and live with her money all alone.
Two and a half stars.
Girl in a Bad Place by Kaitlin Ward
This was the most interesting of the free books I picked up. The execution wasn’t top-notch, but the story was interesting.
Mailee and Cara live in Montana and are planning for college. They’ve always been best friends and have always planned to move to Los Angeles after high school. Until Cara falls in with a new crowd, a bunch of young people who live out on a commune in the countryside. Mailee gets a weird feeling from these new friends, especially their bizarre leader named FIREHORSE, but Cara continues to spend time with them instead of with her friends and boyfriend.
In time, Cara decides to move to the commune, which of course, is clearly a kooky cult. Blah blah blah, can Cara save her friend in time? Yes, of course she can, but not without a whole bunch of unbelievable (meant as in, I really did not believe any of it) stuff happens.
Once again, the adults in this story weren’t award winning. They didn’t seem to mind that the girls were hours away at some weird commune with a conspiracy theorist named Firehorse. This annoyed me.
Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
This had glimpses of a good book inside of it. But Max Holden was simply too much for me in the end.
Jilly and Max have been neighbors forever, but they’ve grown apart over the past few years. Max’s dad is sick and Max spends all of his time drinking and hanging out with his truly horrific girlfriend. Jilly spends most of her time with her gay best friend (also the star of the football team, so kudos for that one) and her dad and step mother who are about to have their first baby.
Everything changes when a drunk Max crawls through Jilly’s window one night and kisses her. Then they suddenly can’t take their hands off each other and struggle with what to do about it. Max continues to drink and make simply horrible decisions and Jilly continues to forgive him because its been hard for him.
Meanwhile, Jilly’s dad is an asshole and her step mother isn’t so bad.
Some of this book worked better than other parts. Max was just TOO MUCH. He was too much Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club. All trouble and smoldering good looks. And Jilly’s dad made me want to throw the book and break something. He was the worst.
A Match Made by Chloe by TB Pearl
This was my least favorite. I did not care for it.
Chloe has a special ability to make romantic matches. She can see “fate” and the matches she makes last forever. And we never find out how she can see this or why or anything and it frustrated me beyond belief.
Anyhoo. When Chloe matches up a star NY pitcher and his gorgeous new bride, some stupid magazine wants to write up an expose on her, with the end game being that they find out she is a fraud. Ian King — THE FAMOUS AND HANDSOME AND PULITZER PRIZE WINNER, NATCH — is assigned the story. He lies and says he is an architect who just wants to settle down. She takes him on as a client. Blah.
The one thing in this book’s favor it that the ending did surprise me. I expected things to go one way, and they didn’t. Not that the real ending was better, it was just unexpected.
What I hated most about this story was the made up lingo that the author clearly thought was totally endearing. It wasn’t. It was annoying and grating. If I had been her editor I would have run out of red pens.