FASHION FRIDAY: Incendiary Girls

FASHION FRIDAY: Incendiary Girls

FASHION FRIDAY: Incendiary Girls by natalieeramm featuring beige pants
Slim shirt / Le breve belted jacket, $25 / Patrizia Pepe beige pants, $180 / Frye tan knee high boots / Alexander McQueen hinged bangle, $255 / Oasis leopard print scarve, $25

The Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer
Little A, 2014
192 pages, 3 stars

About the Book: “Incendiary Girls” explores our baser instincts with vivid imagination and humor. In these stories, our bodies become strange and unfamiliar terrain, a medium for transformation. In ?Fundamental Laws of Nature, ? a doctor considers her legacy, both good and bad, when she discovers that her mother has been reincarnated as a thoroughbred mare. In the title story, a mischievous angel chronicles the remarkable life of a girl just beyond death’s reach. –

This book of short stories was very different and entertaining, but a lot of the same literary themes were used in the stories. I understand coherency of a short story collection, but not to the point that it gets tiresome. I think of all of the stories I liked the one about the girl and her camel boyfriend best (along with the angel of death story), which is why it was the main inspiration for this Fashion Friday!

Fashion Friday: My dear little human, squeeze into these camel colored riding pants. They make you nostalgic for the boyfriend who spit and shit on your floors. Pull these black leather boots on to complete the I-just-jumped-off-a-horse look because you did. You’re convinced that your dead mother has been reincarnated as a mare and you will tame her if it’s the last thing you do.

Button this hot pink shirt up all the way, perhaps it will hide your distress over the lump you recently found. This animal print scarf is a bougie accent that pulls together your look, like the animal themes in the collection.

Your white coat is for when you’re saving lives as one kind of doctor or another. And this cuff with skulls is for when you’re shadowing a young girl throughout her life just waiting to snatch the breath from her.

Scheer (c) Myra Klarman_for galleysAbout Kodi Scheer

Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan.  For her work as a writer-in-residence at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, she was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service.  Her stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Iowa review, and other publications.

Kodi Scher’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, April 8th:  Bibliophiliac

Wednesday, April 9th:  Bound by Words

Thursday, April 10th:  Book Snob

Friday, April 11th:  50 Books Project

Monday, April 14th:  The Things You Can Read

Tuesday, April 15th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, April 16th:  Booksie’s Blog

Thursday, April 17th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, April 18th:  Books are the New Black

Monday, April 21st:  What She Read

Tuesday, April 22nd:  Bookish Ardour

Wednesday, April 23rd:  No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, April 24th:  Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 28th:  Guiltless Reading

Wednesday, April 30th:  The Written World

Thursday, May 1st:  The Scarlet Letter

Tuesday, May 6th:  Savvy Verse and Wit

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Fashion Friday Fail

Here are two books that I’ve either tried and failed to make into Fashion Friday posts, or just had no hope in the first place. Because it’s Friday and things aren’t always perfect (especially not in fashion), here are a couple Fashion Friday Fails for your viewing pleasure…

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Quirk Books (2013)
288 pages, 3.5 stars

Princesses Behaving Badly offers minibiographies of all these princesses and dozens more. It’s a fascinating read for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story. –

I’m not a huge history buff or even a big non-fiction reader, but I enjoyed this book for some obvious reasons (feminism), and other reasons like the sheer amount of information this book squeezes into its 288 pages. Many people could have made a book like this hundreds more pages, and yet I appreciate your brevity McRobbie.

Each chapter takes us to a different point in history where a woman is doing something she isn’t supposed to (those pesky females), and in between each chapter is a collection of extremely short stories about women whose history is less easy to come by. All of the stories are extremely interesting and I like McRobbie’s modern day feminist voice peaking through every now and then. I wish her writing had been a little more story-like, but I think I wish that about all non-fiction.

Check out my attempt to create a fashion friday for this book. It didn’t go so well…

Princesses Behaving Badly

Princesses Behaving Badly by natalieeramm featuring see through tops

GirlsLIkeUsGirls Like Us
Rachel Lloyd
Harper (2011)
277 pages, 4 stars

A deeply moving story by a survivor of the commercial sex industry who has devoted her career to activism and helping other young girls escape “the life”

As you can probably surmise, this book is really depressing. However, it’s eye-opening and a very necessary book for people to read. It changed the way I think about the commercial sex industry (not that I had a ton of thoughts on it to begin with) and the women in it. Lloyd’s big take-away in this book is that women and girls in the commercial sex industry are not only being exploited, but are conditioned from an early age to accept and think they deserve abuse/to work in the industry. A 12-year-old girl is not a sex-worker. She is a commercially sexually exploited youth—a mouthful, I know.

Nonetheless, people tend to blame the victim, especially if the victim is a woman (or girl) of color. I think this is particularly interesting and distressing, because women of color (specifically black women in the US) are more sexualized than white women and thus bear the brunt of a much slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Add on top of that the discrimination in the legal system against people of color and there’s just a ton of shit for these women to wade through.

The one thing about this book that I thought could have been dialed back was the sensationalism. The stories Lloyd tells are horrific and rightfully so, but I didn’t see the utility in having so MANY personal stories of abuse. That could also just be my weak stomach. FYI this isn’t really for those with a weak stomach. This was a fascinating read on sexual politics and race relations in the US, but the cover just didn’t cut it for a fashion Friday. Can you imagine? The nineties is one decade no one wants to make a comeback!

Items in above photo:

AX Paris short lace dress
$67 -

Vero Moda see through top
$18 -

Zalando green short skirt
$45 -

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FASHION FRIDAY: The Here and Now

FASHION FRIDAY: The Here and Now

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Delacorte Press, April 2014
288 pages, 3 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.  —

This was an extremely quick read. Not only is it short, but the story is fast passed and sucks you in easily. My issues with this book really come from the ending, so if you haven’t read it, please beware of SPOILERS. I had some issues with how time traveling works in the book. How did Prenna’s dad get all that stuff in the locker? When she traveled she couldn’t take anything with her (not even clothes).

Also, Ethan’s emphasis and insistence on sex was annoying. I get it he’s a teenage boy, but he supposedly really likes her, right? So why is there so much pressure from him for a physical relationship? Why doesn’t he respect her reservations? And her desire for him doesn’t seem the same–it would have made sense if she too was like OMG I can’t keep my hands off this boy. But her connection to him is more cerebral, which plays into the stereotypes of teen boys and girls.

Overall I enjoyed this book because it was engrossing and quick. But I didn’t think it was as great as her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little time traveler, the trip was rough and left you bruised and scratched. Don these dirty denim jeans which will make you feel like you’re from 2010. Pair them with these pink tennis shoes. They are exactly what you need for running from the “rules” and those who enforce them.

When you traveled something happened to your eyesight and so you wear these cute glasses. Sometimes you wonder if they are actually a surveillance mechanism—because your therapist has this creepy way of checking up on you after your conversations with your bestie.

This tank keeps you cool in the toasty summers that you know will only get hotter as the years progress. Global warming was one of the huge factors in the dismal future you come from, so you’re all about broadcasting education about climate change.

These little heart studs show your love for the stud (*wink wink*) Ethan. There’s just something about him that you love, maybe it’s his brains or his brawn or just fate? You’re not entirely sure. This watch helps you keep track of time, there’s only so much before the pivotal point where the world changes for better or for worse. And you must be there to ensure the better.

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Fashion Friday: THE OTHER TYPIST


The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Penguin Books (2014)
354 pages, 4 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: New York City, 1924: Rose Baker is an orphaned young woman working for her bread as a typist in a police precinct on the lower East Side. Every day Rose transcribes the confessions of the gangsters and murderers that pass through the precinct. While she may disapprove of the details, she prides herself on typing up the goriest of crimes without batting an eyelid.

But when the captivating Odalie begins work at the precinct Rose finds herself falling under the new typist’s spell. As do her bosses, the buttoned up Lieutenant Detective and the fatherly Sergeant. As the two girls’ friendship blossoms and they flit between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the precinct by day, it is not long before Rose’s fascination for her new colleague turns to obsession. But just who is the real Odalie, and how far will Rose go to find out?

The Other Typist is an incredible, creepy story that sucks you in immediately. Rose is not by any means a loveable character. She’s an anti-feminist old-world prim prude (enough adjectives for you?). Odalie is the opposite of Rose and you wonder why on earth they are friends the entire time they are going to speakeasies and flashy parties like it’s The Great Gatsby. SPOILERS POSSIBLY: The entire book is foreboding and made me uneasy, because Rose is narrating from a mental hospital. And then good lord the ending! It’s so good. I really enjoyed how the author plays with Rose’s unreliability. The last paragraph was a total mindfuck. I’m still processing. For those of you who have read it, did Rose kill Teddy? I was under the impression that Odalie did it until that last paragraph.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little wall flower (Rose), you are plain as day typing away at your desk. These loafers are practical, cute, and just a little old lady. They are perfect for doing Odalie’s errands and running from the police during raids.

Prohibition is in full swing, but Odalie has you wearing the classic cat-eye liner and lipstick. You’re sneaking into the speakeasy wearing this beaded flapper dress. Careful not to drink too many champagne cocktails or the Lieutenant Detective might put the moves on you.

Slip this coat over your dress, the hem is too short for your liking (you old Victorian), but the coat will lend you some modesty at least in the street. Finally, slip these diamond bracelets on, one on each wrist. When you hold your hands together it looks like you’re wearing the most beautiful handcuffs. Little do you know, you’ll soon be wearing the real thing.

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Fashion Friday: THE CIRCLE

The Circle

The Circle by Dave Eggers
Knopf (2013)
506 pages, 4 stars

THE BOOK: Mae Holland, a 24 year old college grad, gets hired by The Circle because her brilliant best friend works there. The Circle is a modern internet company that created TruYou, which was designed so that people have to be their ACTUAL selves on the internet. Goodbye internet hazing and trolls. Great idea right? This company is on the cutting edge of technology and employs the smartest young people in the country. Mae is awed by their intelligence and their influence. They are doing such great work in so many different areas, but what happens when they go too far?

The Circle is basically Dave Eggers’ fictional attempt at warning us all what would happen if a company like say Google took over the world. It’s quite terrifying and eye-opening. I was reading it at the same time that I was (and still am) reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR, and let me tell you it’s a total mindf*ck. A lot of the things Eggers sites as the first step in tyrannical internet rule (like engaging with customers via a social media presence in real-time and letting your customers see your true self, etc.) are things Scott says the marketing world should be doing. I feel like after reading Egger’s book and just starting my masters in Integrated Marketing, I have inadvertently boarded the crazy train.

The Circle makes you excited and interested in the technological development in the beginning, because it is framed as helping the world. Then slowly you start to see the potential for harm and the book gets super creepy. Eggers did a fantastic job of controlling the reader’s (in this case, my) perception of the “good” of the company. I also hated Mae. Not at first but by 3/4 of the way through she was just the worst. It’s difficult to write a book that is so compelling when your main character is terrible. But Eggers pulls it off in futuristic style!


My main problem with this book is that I didn’t think the relationship was fleshed out enough between Mae and Khalden. And because of this, the ending seemed like a no brainer. I didn’t wonder what Mae would do, and I wish I had been unsure.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little transparent circler, slip into this pair of comfy jeans that you found in the dorm’s dresser. Somehow they fit you, even though you’re pretty sure you never told The Circle what size pants you wear.

These douchy sneaks are the newest on the market, you’re exclusive circle gave them to you for free. Perks! They’ll keep you comfortable as you virtually walk the world around The Circle, giving them insider access.

This hipster sweater is a joke of yours. Camera’s like these are so 2012 and this sweater is a throw back to when people actually took photos. Now, you wear a live streaming camera around your neck, which allows you expose yourself to the world. This Pixi “naked” lip color is perfect for your new found public life.

Your online presence sky rockets when you’re at The Circle due to your burgeoning personal motto “I’m so posting this,” which you flaunt on your phone with pride.

This ring with tiny hearts represents all the people that you love: your parents, Annie, Khalden, etc. And you manage to hurt all of them one by one.

Finally pull on this rain jacket, whether you’re just kayaking or weathering the shit storm of doing something without sharing it with the world, this jacket will protect you. At least temporarily.

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TLC Tour: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
by Jennifer Cody Epstein
W.W. Norton & Co. (2014)
384 pages
2 stars

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment spans the lives of multiple people before, during, and after WWII. The range of characters includes Japanese and American architects, ex-pats living in Japan, educated women who don’t fit in anywhere, American soldiers responding to Pearl Harbor, and more.

Yoshi, who seems to be the main character, is a child when we first meet her. She’s bright (knows three languages at a young age) and beautiful, and she’s the product of an unhappy marriage. Nursing her mentally ailing mother, she fends for herself during WWII in Japan.

Might SPOIL the plot here, y’all, so proceed at your own risk:

I’m trying to sum up this book, but finding it difficult. The reason I think is that the beginning of the novel is so scattered. It took me a long time to figure out the connection between the American family in the US and the Japanese family in Japan. And honestly the connection seems weak even after reading it. The ring that Cam is wearing when he’s murdered by Kenji, ends up on Yoshi’s finger and eventually leads her to find out that her father was a war criminal. Okay…? What impact does that have on her? She goes to find Cam’s wife and return the ring to her. And then the story ends.

Many novels have loose threads in the beginning, but they are all supposed to tie up in the end and offer some greater truth or understanding from that knot (if you’ll excuse my extended metaphor). So, I found it really frustrating when that wasn’t the case in this book.

Part of the reason I didn’t love this book was that I thought it was going to be about Japanese-American and Caucasian-American race relations during WWII. Though there was some mention of it, the characters took it as a fact rather than discussing it or thinking deeply about it. That whole horrible part of history is sort of glossed over in this book, which was really interesting considering the author’s choice of characters/settings. Anyway, you can see what other (arguably smarter) people thought of it in the links below!

godsphoto1-300x199About Jennifer Cody Epstein

Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle andNBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand.

Jennifer Cody Epstein’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 13th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, January 13th:  Now is Gone – giveaway

Tuesday, January 14th:  A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, January 14th:  Kritter’s Ramblings

Wednesday, January 15th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, January 17th:  The Best Books Ever

Sunday, January 19th:  Writer Unboxed - author guest post

Tuesday, January 21st:  Bookish Ardour

Wednesday, January 22nd:  Bookfoolery

Thursday, January 23rd:  She Treads Softly

Friday, January 24th:  A Reader of Fictions

Wednesday, January 29th:  Book-a-licous Mama

Thursday, January 30th:  Kahakai Kitchen

Tuesday, February 4th:  Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World

Wednesday, February 5th:  Bibliotica

Thursday, February 6th:  Lavish Bookshelf

Thursday, February 13th:  The Feminist Texican [Reads]

Friday, February 14th:  Books are the New Black

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Fashion Friday: THE GOLDFINCH


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Little Brown and Company (2013)
755 pages, 4 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother, a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art

The Goldfinch is a seemingly epic tale of a young boy who loses the one person he loves and has to figure out how to move on by himself. Without support from others, he finds himself sinking into illegal activities to take away the pain he feels for being a survivor. Theo could be super frustrating–there were many times I wanted to shake him and say “GO TO THERAPY.” But his flaws are what make him interesting. Theo’s philosophical tone was beautiful and refreshing, especially at first. My main issue with this book is that it was so long and mostly because there were pages of rants/dialogue that could have been shortened. Tartt tries to explain away the rambling by saying that these pages are Theo’s story he’s written for himself that no one else will see. But the fact is that literary device is not a new one, and it feels a little insulting to the reader. However, I did really enjoy this book! It was kind of like watching a train wreck, which can be entertaining even though you don’t want it to happen. It made me think a lot about how art fits into life and why it’s so important. Anyway, on to the fun stuff…

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little art lover, this plaid sport coat with leather braided buttons is the perfect top layer for an amateur furniture dealer/art thief. This finch necktie is a constant, suffocating reminder of the predicament you’ve gotten yourself into.

The Barbours take you in when you have no one else, but they aren’t the typical foster family. Their preppy Park Avenue style rubs off on you, especially when they buy you these Warby Parker tortoise shell glasses, which you’ll keep the rest of your life. Your longing to join the Barbours on their summer jaunts to Maine, has you wearing this Nautica sweater. You will never take that sailing trip because you aren’t really a part of the family.

These faded blue jeans are a blast from the past that bespeak your days in the desert rolling around with Boris in a drug induced state. You’re dad is the man who made you appreciate fine leather shoes, and these brown suede boots will do the trick when you’re trying to impress buyers and/or shady characters. Boris insists you wear this flashy watch, because without it you don’t look like the rich American you’re supposed to be. You’ve eased yourself into the art world by a fluke (or is it destiny?), either way this rich professor look suits you.

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The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
Algonquin Books (2012)
290 pages, 3 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: Benjamin Benjamin lost everything in an accident. Since then he has remade himself as a caregiver. His client, Trevor, is wheel chair restricted due to a terminal illness. In the beginning, Benjamin and Trevor form a superficial bond that upholds caregiver/patient ethics, but by the end that bond evolves into a friendship.

Together they embark on a road trip across country to heal themselves and on the way they meet with odd people, ridiculous situations, plenty of dark humor, and a little insanity. Read more about the novel here.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear road tripper, when you aren’t wearing a mini skirt that’s too small and too tight for Benjamin’s liking, you’re stuffing yourself into these tight jeans. Their heart pattern shows the love you start to feel for Trevor, a weird kid that keeps you on your toes.

This highway tank is perfect for your ill-fated road trip (and it can billow out to accommodate a pregnant belly). When a car starts following the van, you can see Benjamin beginning to freak out. You know who that man is but you won’t say, because then you won’t be able to stay with Trevor.

These bright glasses cover up the grief in your eyes, years ago you lost everything. To this day you can’t figure out what to do to make it right. These flat yellow shoes will keep your feet stylish while you stand on them all day long.

Finally this necklace, is a big house with a family. Something you so desperately want back but can never have.

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Fashion Friday: THE BEAR

The Bear

The Bear by Claire Cameron
Little Brown and Company (February 2014)
208 pages, 3 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: While camping with her family on a remote island, five-year-old Anna awakes in the night to the sound of her mother screaming. A rogue black bear, 300 pounds of fury, is attacking the family’s campsite, pouncing on her parents as prey. —

After her parents are killed by the bear, Anna must survive the elements and protect her younger brother. The narrative is told in Anna’s five-year-old voice. It reminded me a lot of Room, which is told from a five-year-old boy’s perspective. Anna is a conflicted character, who senses underlying tensions between her parents and hints at her father’s rage through flashbacks. She’s extremely intuitive, yet also has an explosive temper. It was refreshing to see violence in a young female character. Often female characters take on a motherly role in situations like this, but Anna didn’t. I appreciated that the author resisted gender roles.

My main complaint with this book is that it all happens so fast. In a little over 200 pages you get the story of loss, survival, and recovery. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and events that I don’t think were explored as thoroughly as they could have been. However, this was a quick and absorbing read!

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little hot head, don this tee covered in forest friends, the big black dog is not as sweet as Snoopy. In fact, he’s a killer. But your young mind takes a while to process that fact. Wrap yourself in this orange cardigan, which will keep you warm during Canada’s cool summer nights.

These patterned shorts are a fun addition to your wardrobe. They’ve seen better days though and so have you. This beer cap necklace is in the shape of a heart, you lost yours to the big black dog who ate your parents. It’s called a Canoe Paddle. When your mother told you to go to the canoe and wait for her, she didn’t know the paddle would be broken.

Finally these polka dot socks will keep your feet warm while they are bunched down over your boots. These boots are great for hiking and running from forest friends. And ultimately they’ll take you back to where it all started years after the fact.

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Romance Roundup: liars, blackmailers, and the one who got away

Title: Blackmoore
Author: Julianna Donaldson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (2013)
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 stars

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read

Blackmoore was a beautifully written romance that also managed to stick to romance structures in a way that was heartfelt and not in any way explicit. The main character wants to move to India and experience the world for herself, but her mother requires her to turn down three marriage proposals before she’s allowed to go. Blackmoore could so easily have turned into the kind of romance where the character’s dream is tossed in the garbage the moment the hero appears, but Kate stuck to her guns in a way that made her so likable and enviable. I loved this novel! Be prepared for tears if you pick it up.

Title: How to Win a Duke’s Heart
Author: Caroline Linden
Publisher: Avon (2012)
Pages: 384
Rating: 3 stars

Charles de Lacey is being blackmailed about his father’s mysterious past. Tessa Neville needs money to go to America, so she’s wrapped up in some shady business. When that business brings her to Charles all bets are off. Read a better summary from

Tessa was such a great heroine. She’s sassy, quick witted, and independent. Charles is a little tortured and a little scandalous, which equals a lot sexy. Their adventures in trying to discover the blackmailer are very entertaining. This novel had me turning pages in spite of rolling my eyes at the typical romance cliches.

Title: Hard to Handle
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publisher: Forever (2013)
Pages: 260
Rating: 3 stars

Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body…

These two crazy kids fall back in love after fate/poor decisions tear them apart. Sadie is cute (petite, blonde) and Aiden is rough around the edges but sweet at heart. What I liked about Aiden was that he wasn’t a rake/slut. His desire to have the next woman he sleep with be the one he marries was refreshing for a male character. Maybe I read too many romances in a row and was burnt out on “but will he still like me if…” kind of rhetoric, but Sadie struck me as annoying and high maintenance. I also didn’t think their conflict was that intense. They needed some other obstacle to make the story more interesting.

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