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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 8 star ratings
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    Well Written But NOT a Romance

    So, this book is marketed as a New Adult Romance, but there is no HEA. I am going to assume this means that this is a romantic series that will eventually get there. But for those of you that want a traditional romance, this one isn't for you. If you are looking for a small town (I'm talking like 15 people live there small) girl that finds herself swept up in a total culture shock as she enters high school in a very big city, Paradise. Lexie is feeling quite overwhelmed as she is thrown face first into the whirlpool that is high school social structure. Adrift on her own, she begins to develop a new indentity and branch out a little. I really loved watching her transform from a niave and awkward girl to a person that was happy (most of the time) with who she was. The romantic interest was a little too dramatic for me. They are on agan and off again, and then sort of inbetween for awhile - and as you can see from the beginning of my review here - we don't end with as HEA or a HFN. I certainly hope things get worked out in the next book. While I enjoyed the writing very much, since it was presented as a romance I was really hoping for a good, happy ending. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
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    YA drama w/ Mean Girls / Twilight vibe (& cliffs!)

    PARADISE CITY  (Paradise, # 1) C.J. Duggan April 28, 2015 Publisher: Hachette Austalia approximate pages: 336 (print) Romance: Contemporary, New Age/College  ** Provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review. **  -- MY THOUGHTS -- Judging a Book by it's Cover:  Bright and bold color choices immediately catch the eye. The synopsis sounds like a typical coming-of-age, teen drama. Nothing too extra-ordinary or unique from the tons of others out there already: Naive, small-town girl moves and meets local bad boy. It's all very cliche' when you think about it. Hope it reads better!  Looking Deeper:  Written from Lexie's first-person POV. How to explain this book.... Lexie's fascination / obsession with school hottie / bad boy is akin to the Bella / Edward saga that I'm sure everyone is familiar with, except Ballantine does not sparkle (thank god for small favors). Then there's Amanda, the estranged cousin that she idolized. My first thought on Amanda: "Mean Girls". It's not a loving reunion. Add in a few more characters and plenty of pop culture references and you have a rather full cast and substance. The plot plods along steadily but sedately, chronicling the mundane life at school, mostly. Nearly a third of the way into the book, Ballantine had made one comment and asked two questions to Lexie. His friend, Boon, has interacted with her more! I think he's fast becoming a favorite character. The dialogue and interaction is mostly realistic and natural feeling, although it really does perplex me how someone can be THAT naive and trusting of everyone. I found myself struggling with the pace and the mostly one-dimensional content. The main characters are okay, but they are awful young (Ballantine's 18 and Lexie's 17) and still have a LOT of growing up to do. I was a bit thrown that the boys are always referred to by their last names. There's a lot of Australian terminology in this book, so be sure to have your translator ready if you are not familiar with words like ute, esky, doona, and bitumen.   There were many conflicts ranging in degree. Most were resolved, some were not. There were a few plot twists that were not predicted and I can only speculate on some of the other elements that are yet to reveal themselves. The conclusion is left open to continue in the next book, due out in September of 2015. I wish I had prior knowledge of a cliffhanger. I prefer not to invest my time in partial stories, but rather I wait until all parts are available to read as a whole. This story *IS* a High School drama-laden SERIAL saga with a cliffhanger. You've been warned. ------------------------ Heat Level: 3.5 ------------------------ Score: 3.7 Stars: 4 ----------------------- -- ABOUT the AUTHOR -- C.J Duggan is an Internationally Number One Best Selling Author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn't writing books about swoony boys and 90's pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos. The Boys of Summer is Book One in her highly successful New Adult Romance Series. -- REVIEWER INFO -- Tina J / Happily Ever Chapter
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