Title: The Hate U Give Author: Angie Thomas Publisher: Balzer + Bray Publish Date: February 28, 2017 Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary Pages: 444 Format: Hardcover
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
I bought this book when it first came out and I didn’t read it until now. There was an incredible amount of hype behind it – and rightly so – but I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. A lot was going on in my personal life, but I knew I wanted to read it eventually.
And boy, am I finally glad I did. I started to read it at the height of the protests this past June, and I wanted to take it slow, so it wasn’t until almost a full month later that I started reading and couldn’t put it down. It’s such a fast, impactful read.
I’m just going to say it now: I really loved this book. It filled me with anger, sadness, relief, happiness, love, hope, disgust; pretty much a whole range of emotions. Let’s talk about my thoughts on the story itself:
First of all, the family aspect in this book is AMAZING! I never get to read a lot about family dynamics in any books I read, regardless if they’re YA, adult, middle grade, whatever. So being able to see such a strongly rooted family was so refreshing. I loved not just the relationship Starr has with her parents and siblings, but also her uncle and how he’s very much like a second father to her.
Of course, with this greatly tight-knit family comes the opposite for many of the other characters in Starr’s world, like her half-brother Seven’s mom and stepfather, or Khalil’s mom. There’s many sides to the dice, and I appreciated getting even just a glimpse into some of the other relationships some of the other characters had.
I felt sadness for Starr, not just because of what happened to Khalil right in front of her eyes (which is obviously tragic and horrible and no one should ever have to witness that), but also that she felt such a need to separate who she was depending on where she was: if she was in Garden Heights, she was one person; if she was at her school at Williamson, she was a completely different person, a held back version of herself. As the book goes through many ups and downs, Starr has many realizations about herself and the world and people around her, including one of her “friends.” I’m glad that she figures it out, to some degree, by the end as to who she is and where she fits in with all of it.
Reading about the gangs in the book kind of put in to perspective just how much gangs can be like a family to people, as well as how hard it can be to leave if you no longer want to be part of them. It can be scary, for sure, but it was also cool to see rival gangs come together for a similar purpose.
I felt that the whole journey that Starr took to reevaluate her stance on everything – her friend groups, her family, her race, everything – was handled really well and felt very real. I could see her struggle with it, especially when it came to opening up and being more vulnerable with her white boyfriend, Chris. I could see her struggle and how she really handled it with a lot of consideration and care for herself.
Of course, some of the hardest parts to read were her recounting the murder of her best friend. I almost cried at the very end of a chapter where she was recounting it in front of people and just her last sentence felt so impactful, so raw, so real, that I almost started to ball my eyes out because… wow. I’ll most likely never have to experience or think something like that ever in my life, and how she had to think that at 16? It hurts.
And how she had to call out one of her friends for having said several racist things over the years, and the white girl never admitted to it and would always play the victim. It was frustrating and I wanted to slap her, but I was also glad to see that there was also Chris, Starr’s boyfriend, who wanted to prove that he loves her for her, nothing else. It was nice to see.
Overall, this whole story is incredible. I’m not doing it justice by talking about it here (other than the fact that I’m rusty at these book reviews lol), but I can understand the hype, and I highly recommend you read this book – especially if you’re white – just to get a glimpse into the world Black people experience every day.
Also remember: Black Lives Matter, all day, every day.
Title: The Play Series: Briar U #3 Author: Elle Kennedy Publisher: Elle Kennedy, Inc. Publish Date: October 7. 2019 Genre: New Adult, Romance, Sports Pages: 422 Format: Kindle eBook
What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.
But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.
Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.
And she’s making a play for me.
Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.
Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.
This is the third standalone novel within this series, and I really enjoyed it! I love readying about these characters from the same school and stuff, because you get to see their perspective and kind of grow and root for them when you see them in previous books. It’s great!
Anyway, this story follows two characters: Hunter and Demi. Demi is a character we’ve never met before, but I thought that she was a great addition to the ever-growing Briar Univers(ity) because she is a half-black, half-Latina young woman who wants to become a psychologist, even though her parents (particularly her father) want her to become a medical doctor like he is. But she has her own goals and fascinations, and she’s incredibly smart.
Hunter we first met in the first in the Briar University books and, well, he had quite a roller coaster of a time in that book, so it was nice to see him much more level-headed in this one. I felt that he was well-developed and matured for the time that this took place at, and that he was definitely much easier to take in that the first book. He just wanted to be the best team captain he could be – even going as far as to take a vow of celibacy from sex – and he does a great job at it… for a time (because you know these books have lots of steamy sex scenes in them, haha!).
Another interesting dynamic within this book was that Demi started off in an already existing long term relationship. She was the first character through all the books in the Briar Universe that was in a pre-existing relationship. As far as the relationship goes, it felt realistic in how it was portrayed. There was a sense of unease as the book went along, and I saw what was going to happen for a little while, but it still floored me! Demi handled the situation much better than I was expecting, so that was good.
The plot followed the two as they were both in the same psychology class, and through heartbreak and longing – and lots of shenanigans – and it felt like a very organic progression into the relationship that formed between them. It didn’t feel rushed, and though the situation was a bit stressful at first given what happened with Demi, they managed to face a lot of situations where they encouraged each other.
And of course there were steamy sex scenes. The two characters were extremely attracted to each other – which is great! – and they definitely showed it. If you like your naughty reads, I definitely recommend these books.
I do, however, feel like the ending was a bit… off? Like, I can totally see how it’s plausible, because it’s definitely happened in real life and such, but it just felt so sudden that I was blindsided by it. I didn’t really know how to feel, but I am glad of the end message that Elle put into the book about seeking help if you need it – and please, if you do need help, please seek it out. You’re not alone.
Overall, an enjoyable read in this series. I’m not sure if it’s the last book in the Briar U arc, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Number Of Books You Read: 17 Number of Re-Reads: 6? Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy
1. Best Book You Read In 2019?
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This book touched and reached the darkest parts of my heart and mind as I could relate so much to the grief this boy had for his mother. It was hands down my favorite book of the year and I’m so incredibly glad to have given it the chance it deserved. You can check out my full review here.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Chase by Elle Kennedy – As far as guilty pleasures go, the romance series that Elle Kennedy has written were some of my favorites that I’ve read in a long time, so naturally I was excited to read about one of the main character’s sister from the previous series in this novel, but alas, I found her quite aggravating. I mean, there’s a lot of sex in these books, which I’m fine with, but man, sometimes there was just a bit too much sex drive even for me. You can check out my full review here.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I didn’t except to enjoy this as much as I did, but I did enjoy it! Although some of it was kind of boring and dragged on, the romance was adorable and the finding out about ones was great. You can check out my full review here.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Since having a seasonal bookstore job, I’ve recommended a few books, including things like the Grisha trilogy, The Starless Sea, the Mortal Instruments series, etc. And they’ve gotten them, so yeah!
5. Best series you started in 2019? Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019?
Best series started: Fushigi Yuugi by Yuu Watase – this is a reread for me as I’ve read this entire series multiple times when I was a teen, and it’s just been super nostalgic for me.
Best sequel: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan – as this is my first time reading the Percy Jackson series, I’ve been highly enjoying the story and books, and this sequel was super fun and exciting with the stakes being higher. You can check out my full review here.
Best series ender: I haven’t read one yet this year, so… lol
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?
Probably Patrick Ness. I loved A Monster Calls so much, so I’d love to give his other books a try, too!
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Embrace Your Weird by Felicia Day – I read her first book earlier this year, and I’m still reading this one because it’s an activity book, but it’s so fun to just write and create with abandon. It’s something I need because I’m too focused on making things perfect that I need to be able to let go and be more loose with creativity.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson was definitely unputdownable, epic, action-packed, and thrilling. As an epic high fantasy there was just so much put into the world and the characters that I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It was a really great book, for sure. If you want to check out my full review, click here!
9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Risk by Elle Kennedy – This next installment in the Briar U arc was so much more enjoyable for me, and it had a lot more in depth real moments that I was much more drawn to than The Chase. If anything, I’d reread this one for the angst, steamy bits, and that great hate-to-love dynamic I love haha! You can check out my full review here.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?
I have three favorites, don’t judge me lol
11. Most memorable character of 2019?
The cast of characters from Fushigi Yuugi just because I know them so well and love them so much lol
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I love Laini Taylor’s writing so much, and this book is so lyrical and magical in its execution. I seriously love how beautifully it’s written.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?
Forever and always talking about A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness because this book means so much to me. A book about grief and how it can manifest into the world – not just internally, but externally, too.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read?
The Percy Jackson series… Just like the Harry Potter series, I seriously missed out on some awesome books during my childhood lol I’m trying to make up for it in my adult years.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019?
And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.
Longest book: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – 45 hours 37 minutes of audiobook (physical book is actually 1007 pages long, including appendix stuff)
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Have I mentioned The Way of Kings, because my mouth dropped open so many times throughout listening to the audiobook that it was crazy. I also laughed out loud, cheered, grew angry, etc, with the audiobook. It was a really great experience.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Hades and Persephone foreverrrrrrrrrrr~ Lore Olympus is an amazing webcomic series and I want everyone to go read it. Go. Now. Do it.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
I loved the dynamic between the characters in The Way of Kings. Everyone was connected in some way through different people, so even if they didn’t meet in this volume, there was still a larger overarching connectedness between everyone that I loved seeing. The web grows bigger, my friends.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
As I’ve stated before, I loved her first series of the students at Briar University, and this book in the Briar U arc was super good.
21. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:
This was the literal most hyped book I read this year, and it was really good, so thank you everyone across all social media platforms lol
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?
I quite liked Rook from An Enchantment of Ravens, not gonna lie. An immortal faerie lord who wants to learn more about humans and not just look at them like they’re objects for his own gain? Yes, please.
23. Best 2019 debut you read?
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
My dudes, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson was so immersive in its design from top to bottom. The way Sanderson writes his settings and worlds is second to none, I swear. From towering spires to rocky cliffs to war camps, small townships, and high storms. Oh man, it’s such an amazingly vivid world.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
A Monster Calls actually made me cry at the end, so, yeah.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is one I haven’t finished yet, but it’s one that sucked me in pretty quickly and held onto me until I hit a reading slump earlier this year. It’s a book set in England with an American witch, a British vampire, forbidden romance, dark secrets, and mystery. It’s really good! I’d seen it pop up a lot whenever I was browsing books on Amazon, so I decided to give it a go and am glad I did.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I mean, none of the books or comics I’ve read have crushed my soul, so… I don’t really have an answer.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?
I read this autobiography by Felicia Day, and since I generally don’t read biographies of any kind, this was definitely the most unique in that aspect. But also, her book Embrace Your Weird is unique because it’s a book that makes you draw in it, create around it, rip out pages, cut things out, etc. I really like her as a writer!
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
*insert the bad shit that happened in Lore Olympus that has the entire fandom pissed off with good reason* 😀
1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019?
I’ve actually really pulled away from the book world in the last year, but I do have a couple of new favorite booktubers that I enjoy watching:
This was a really fun post to make because I got my husband involved to help me find all of these books, and luckily we found one for each question (even if it did take a while lol).
3. Favorite bookish related photo(s) you took in 2019?
4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?
The Leigh Bardugo signing at Brookline Booksmith in Boston was so fun and Leigh herself was such a delight! You can read about my whole experience here!
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?
Participating in challenges and tags again was really fun. I know I haven’t blogged much the last few years, but I still try to post when I can and when I have enough energy to do so. So I really enjoyed the Do I Have This Book? challenge and also attempting (and failing) to participate in readathons like the Medievalathon and the Book Junkie Trials.
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I’ve been emotionally and mentally drained for years now due to my mom’s dementia diagnosis a few years back, plus work stress, moving states, etc. So reading and blogging have been put so far back on the back burner that I oftentimes don’t think about it anymore. I still keep up with comics, though, because I’ve learned to rely upon visual stimulation to bring about happiness into my life. It’s been a rough time, friends, but I’m slowly starting to piece myself back together and get back into the hobby of reading for fun again.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Camp NaNoWriMo 2019 had the most views, as far as I could tell by my stats. I might also be looking at the wrong figure lol
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
2020 Reading Goals & Challenges – this is my way of dedicating myself to reading, albeit a slow one, plus I just like hearing about and seeing other peoples’ goals (even if they don’t stick to them lol).
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The bookstore I work at currently is an independent book store, which is cool, and the staff is very friendly and stuff. I don’t plan on staying there past the season, but the store itself is also cute. Plus, you know, supporting a small business is awesome.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I’ve completed one goal from last year, which was to have half or more of the books I read already exist on my shelf, which, thanks to my manga, I completed that goal! …that’s it. Didn’t reach any other reading or personal goals this year. Oh well.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020?
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I will finish it, goddamn it.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?
Even though I’ll only be on the second book in this massive series, I’m excited for the fourth volume of the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson! One day I’ll get to read it. One day…
3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I haven’t been keeping up to date with releases and stuff, so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?
Other than the one I mentioned above, again, I haven’t been keeping super up to date with things, so… I don’t really have one.
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020?
Actually post more consistently again than once every few months would be cool.
6. A 2020 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
Haven’t read any yet, but I have a few arcs from work of books coming out in December and January.
Title: The Risk Series: Briar U #2 Authors: Elle Kennedy Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc. Publish Date: February 18, 2019 Genre: New Adult, Fiction – Contemporary, Romance Pages: 432 Format: Kindle eBook
A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy. THE RISK takes you back to the world of hot hockey players, feisty heroines, bro banter, and steamy scenes…
Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.
And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.
I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.
For every fake date…he wants a real one.
Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.
That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.
I’ve gotta say, I definitely enjoyed this book much more than the first stand-alone in the Briar U arc. It was funny, heartfelt, steamy (as always), but also showed more sides to people than just those in the universities, and I think that really played a big role in my overall enjoyment of this book.
Brenna is, probably, my favorite person. She’s tough as nails, she wears red lipstick as her armor, she doesn’t give two shits if someone doesn’t like her, she’s sassy, intelligent. She’s a woman after my own heart. I also very much admire her self-control of her temper in certain parts of the book, because I don’t think I’d be a big enough person to be able to hold my tongue to the kinds of comments she received numerous times from some of the men in the novel.
Jake is… well, he’s a steamy man, I’ll give him that, and he’s alpha, which, if you don’t know what that means, it means he’s the kind of person who’s in charge, who takes the lead, doesn’t take “no” for an answer, is very loyal to his team. Well, Jake will take “no” for an answer, so he’s not the kind of stereotypical jerk alpha that I’ve read in stories before. But he definitely exudes a presence in the book. People just notice him, and not just because he’s handsome as heck.
We also got to see smatterings of Summer from the first book, The Chase, as well as Fitz, Hunter, Mike Hollis, and one new character whom I LOVE and am soooo glad she’s getting her own book: Rupi. I fell in love with her almost instantly. She’s very quirky and determined and very much won’t take “no” for an answer.
The plot centered a lot around the hockey tournaments that Jake’s team, Harvard, and Brenna’s dad’s team, Briar, are preparing for and to face each other to go onto nationals, but it also centers a lot around Brenna striving to get her dream internship. I appreciated seeing that side of the field and how, yes, even today there’s a lot of misogyny in the sports broadcasting field. It was believable the way some of the men talked about women, and like I said earlier: I applaud Brenna for holding her tongue, because I really don’t think I would have been able to.
There was also a smaller second element to the plot that played into it about Brenna’s past, and let me tell you: the story behind her past was a shock that I did not see coming and I literally did a double take reading it. Definitely a good plot twist.
The dynamic between Brenna and her father is also one I understand, even if my own dad isn’t quite like hers. I understand how hard it is to want to be close, but not understanding how to get close, or when that closeness faded away. And the ugly shame that comes with feeling you’re a huge disappointment to your parent. It was very much a real moment, and I almost cried as a result of it.
The sex scenes were quite steamy, as expected of these Briar University books, which I’m not complaining about. The scenarios were different almost each time, the romance aspect felt a little rushed, but also the chemistry between the two had already been established, so it was an overall great element to the story.
I only wish there had been a different ending. Not that the ending was bad, I was just hoping we would have seen slightly farther into the future, or that there had been just one more chapter.
But I definitely recommend the book if you’re reading the Briar U arc, and even if you’re not and want a steamy romance, then definitely pick this one up!
Title: The Chase Series: Briar U #1 Authors: Elle Kennedy Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc. Publish Date: August 4, 2018 Genre: New Adult, Fiction – Contemporary, Romance Pages: 378 Format: Kindle eBook
Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.
And that his best friend has a crush on me.
And that I just moved in with them.
Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?
I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?
He knows where to find me.
Diving back into the stories of the college students of Briar U was something I was really looking forward to! I remember loving the original four books of the first series, instantly hooked on the hot hockey dudes and the beautiful girls they fell in love with.
This story, though? It… kind of fell flat for me. But that’s not to say that it still wasn’t enjoyable as far as entertainment value is concerned.
So let’s talk about the characters first:
Summer is Dean’s sister (he’s the main lead in The Goal) and as such, she’s drop dead gorgeous like her brother and has just a big of a personality as he does. And as much of a sex drive as he does. Of course she’s more than just that, and it’s often revealed and talked about throughout the story how she wants to be seen as more than just her family’s money or more than just her looks: she may not be academically smart, but she’s got a lot of passion for fashion, which is what she’s studying; she believes in woman power and building other women up instead of tearing them down; and she had an orbit about her that draws people in.
She’s also a lot of drama. Like. Holy crap, a lot of drama. I found myself often thinking that a lot of her reactions were over the top and that they didn’t really warrant to be as such for the situation. I get that’s supposed to be her personality, but a lot of the reactions seemed forced or even out of character.
Colin Fitzgerald is one of the hockey players for Briar U and he’s a tattooed, video game designing man who wants to work for a big game company when he graduates. He’s even made his own video game and has others he knows beta test it, which is pretty cool. He’s also very sexually driven, I found throughout this story, which is fine but sometimes I thought it was a bit much. He also has a bit of social anxiety, which is understandable given his back story and the way he grew up.
So, as far as plot goes: there was a lot of back and forth between Summer and Fitz (obviously, it’s not called “The Chase” for nothing) where they would often inner monologue how they’re very attracted toward the other and they want to get in each other’s pants, but never know what the other is thinking.
My biggest issue with this was how it made the characters feel so shallow and kind of two dimensional. So much of the plot centered around the sexual aspects that I felt it took away from the characters and their growth, because I actually did find the stuff happening outside and around them interesting.
I found that the anxiety was handled really well, though, and it was very believable how the characters tried to cope with their anxiety, either on their own or with help from another.
Overall, I found this to be a book that focused highly on entertainment value than on character development, which is fine, but I still wish we could have seen more come out of the characters. Some of the situations felt forced or rushed or pretty unbelievable, but otherwise it was a fun story with steamy scenes and some laughs.