One Small Thing
by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin on July 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Dating & Sex
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author duo of The Royals and When It’s Real comes a sensational new novel about a girl falling for the one boy she should never have met…
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems like a small thing, just for her.
Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…
Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.
Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.
Review of One Small Thing
One Small Thing is a standalone novel by New York Times bestselling author-duo Erin Watt. The story follows Beth, a high school student who-for the past three years-has been sheltered and monitored closely by her parents after the sudden, tragic death of her older sister. However, her desire to finally break free from their over-protectiveness leads her to a party where she runs into another high school student- Chase. Chase has just been released from a three year stay in juvie due to his involvement in Beth’s sister’s death. His desire is to start fresh and to make sure he is never put into a position where something unfortunate may happen. When he and Beth meet, the metaphorical sparks fly and they push all the darkness aside that has been clinging to them for years and lose themselves in each other.
One Small Thing is definitely one of the darker, heavier novels written by Erin Watt. Despite the controversial foundation that was created at the beginning of Chase and Beth’s relationship, the story held the subtle humorous notes that are present in previous novels. Beth’s ability to look beyond Chase’s actions the night her sister died, and recognize that he made a tragic mistake made her an instant favorite of mine. She struggled deeply with her conflicting emotions throughout the story- her love for her sister, her forgiveness of Chase, her frustration with her parents, her fear of being judged by others for feeling something for Chase, etc. Chase had his own metaphorical demons to contend with- his guilt over Beth’s sister’s death, his experience in juvie, his feelings for Beth, his own guilt for putting Beth in a position to lie to friends and family about their closeness and involvement with each other, and his belief that he should continue to atone for what occurred in the past.
Despite all the turmoil and controversy surrounding their burgeoning relationship, Chase and Beth are able to connect on a level that far exceeds the tender, sweet juvenile love that is often seen in novels in this genre. The melancholy tones weave perfectly with their relationship, making their feelings stark, real, and meaningful. Beth was exactly what Chase needed to realize that he was more than the sum of his past mistakes, and Chase was exactly what Beth needed in order for her to understand her parents, and herself, when it comes to their way to heal and grieve.
One Small Thing was a beautifully written masterpiece about star-crossed lovers who find the strength to grow from their grief and forgiveness while seeking solace and understanding in each other’s company. It is a deep and meaningful love story that was crafted and built from a subtle, melancholic place and flourished into something enduring and lasting and real.
Five stars for One Small Thing! Lifeblood
by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin on March 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
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"My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning."
With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.
Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?
But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.
Lifeblood is the second book in the Everlife series by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter. Tenly “Ten” Lockwood, a seventeen-year-old who has just pledged her allegiance to one of the realms must now learn how to navigate this new world. As Ten struggles with the separation from her love interest, Killian- an infamous Myriadian- and the loss of a dear friend and the betrayal of another, she tries to find ways to end the war between the two realms in the after-life, all while growing stronger with her powers. Unfortunately, Ten is given a short window of time to adjust to her new existence and is sent back to the land of the harvest to investigate contaminated humans that are being pressured to join the opposing realm. This insidious infliction upon those in their firstlife has the potential to cause serious harm in Troika- which some of the characters suspect may be the reasoning behind its existence.
Killian and Ten’s chemistry in Lifeblood is intense! Their scenes are fraught with burning chemistry, frustration, and desperation. While their attraction and depth of feelings for one another are prominent and mind-blowing, the politics between the realms makes it exceedingly difficult for both characters to progress in their relationship (which is SO frustrating!). Ten’s relationship with other characters also provided a lot of different opportunities. I enjoyed some of her heated skirmishes with new characters in her realm and loved watching her connection with General Nanne deepen- he was the father-like figure that Ten desperately needed.
Normally in a trilogy, I find the middle novel to be my least favorite (not exactly sure why this happens, but it does). However, Lifeblood was NOT a disappointment! I mentally devoured Lifeblood in a matter of days. My dreams alternated between the dreamy scenes between Ten and Killian, the anxiety-inducing action and intense scenes, and the heart-wrenching, soul-crushing scenes of despair. Yes. Lifeblood brought me to tears a few times…Ten’s devastation practically seeped from the pages and tormented my soul. It was that awful. But don’t let that deter you! If an author can incur those types of feelings within me, then you know the writing is good. Oh! And let’s not forget that delicious plot twist and betrayal! Ah! I literally chucked the book across the room in shock- and then promptly rushed over to finish the scene.
Lifeblood was a delicious surprise that made me ride the whole spectrum of feelings! Ten may be impulsive and sometimes reckless, but there is no doubting the depth of her loyalty and love. So, I’m definitely invested in her little (okay, major) adventure. I can’t wait to check out the latest in the series- Everlife!
Five Stars!! Firstlife
by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin on March 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Action & Adventure, Love & Romance
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"Utterly unique and absolutely riveting—I couldn't put it down! What a marvelously cool world."—New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. MaasFrom the author of the New York Times bestselling White Rabbit Chronicles series comes book 1 of a brand new series in which life as we know it is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.
Tenley "Ten" Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she'll live—after she dies.
There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.
In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she's drawn to isn't where the boy she's falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…
Review of the book Firstlife
Firstlife book is the first book in the Everlife series by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter. The story follows Tenley “Ten” Lockwood a seventeen-year-old girl struggling to choose which realm to enter when she dies. On Earth, also known as the Land of the Harvest, humans are busy living their first lives- however, before they die they must pledge their allegiance to either Myriad- a dark realm of indulgence and pleasure, where only the strongest rise to power and privilege, or Troika- a realm of light where love, justice, and truth are cherished, and everyone is considered of equal importance. Unfortunately, both reals are embroiled in a vicious war and fight to convince humans to pledge their allegiance to their realm and cause.
That’s where Archer and Killian come in…
Archer, of Troika, is charged with convincing Ten to pledge her allegiance to their side as she is believed to be a “conduit”- someone capable of tipping the war in their favor. Killian, of Myriad, is charged with seducing Ten to their side as well- as they too believe she will bring victory to their realm. Unfortunately, for both guys, Ten is determined to remain “unsigned” as she doesn’t truly feel like she fits into either realm. She is told, however, that if she does NOT choose either realm, her soul will be sent to suffer in the Many Ends- basically, hell.
As Ten struggles to pick a side, she finds herself placed in a perilous position as someone is intent on ending her life. Amid this, Archer and Killian hold a temporary truce to protect her. The dynamic between both guys is interesting- I enjoyed Archer’s sense of honor and justice- he is so easy-going and likable (although there were times I almost thought he was too good). Killian…oh, Killian…this Irish charmer with the wicked tattoos, bad-boy persona, and devilish sense of humor instantly shot his way to my #1 spot for current book boyfriend. I’m seriously not surprised, however, as Gena Showalter creates some of the most tempting love interests in her novels.
There were many underlying themes and parallels drawn in this novel- you have two realms who hold two very different views, though neither of them is entirely wrong in their beliefs, who will do anything to trump or decimate the other side. They try desperately to convince people that their side is the “right” one- their egos overruling their actions- causing irreparable damage. One side even promises money, riches, and status to push their agenda, where another side hides their motives behind poetic words of honor and justice. I enjoyed watching Ten, with her quirky obsession with numbers, work through which world she felt more inclined to join.
Firstlife was a fast-paced, sizzling page-turner that kept me sleep-deprived.
It’s teeming with action, adventure, and romance- three of my favorite things! The dialogue was fun, the characters layered and dynamic, and the plot was thought-provoking.
Five stars!!! When It's Real
by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin on June 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Performing Arts, Music, Romance, Contemporary, Social Themes, Dating & Sex, Family, Siblings
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Wealth, fame and a real-life romance she never expected—seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett lands it all when she agrees to become a pop star's fake girlfriend in this smart, utterly addictive novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt
Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.
There's nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star's got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he's settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.
Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley's image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She'll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.
Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there's no telling what your heart will do…
WHEN IT’S REAL – REVIEW
When it’s Real is a Harlequin Teen novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt. The story features Vaughn Bennett, a seventeen year old girl struggling to make ends meet with her older sister and two younger brothers. After losing both of their parents, the Bennett sisters push themselves through school and land available jobs in order to keep themselves financially afloat. Unfortunately, money continues to grow tighter and tighter, making the future before them appears ominous and uncertain.
IN STEPS FAMOUS TEEN ROCK STAR, OAKLEY FORD, AND HIS WILD AND RECKLESS SELF…
Oakley Ford is an insanely talented musician who is stuck in the midst of the music version of writer’s block. Struggling to find inspiration and desperately wanting to work with the music producer King, Oakley finds that he must turn the scandalous gossip fodder surrounding him into something more ideal and productive. Thankfully, his agent and marketing team come up with the brilliant idea to hire a fake “normal” girlfriend for Oakley. The idea is to make him seem more personable and likable to the masses, while preventing his reputation from sliding into more infamous waters.
AND THEY DISLIKE EACH OTHER ON SIGHT.
Neither Oakley nor Vaughn is particularly thrilled at being placed together. Vaughn finds Oakley to be rude and self-absorbed, and Oakley finds Vaughn to be cold and uptight. But as they spend more time together, feelings begin to change and it becomes difficult to separate true feelings from the ones they are supposed to present to the world.
Once again, Erin Watt completely blew my mind with how amazing this story was! I could literally feel the intensity between the characters pouring off the pages. I found both characters to be equally interesting and easily relatable. The chemistry between Vaughn and Oakley was palpable, the setting was captivating, and the humor was spot on! I laughed multiple times throughout the novel, and also found myself eagerly devouring the words on the pages to see how the scenes would end. I was never disappointed.
“WHEN IT’S REAL” IS A BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN MODERN LOVE STORY BRIMMING WITH LIKABLE CHARACTERS, SEARING CHEMISTRY, AND DELIGHTFUL HUMOR!
Like Erin Watt? Check out my review of Paper Princess!