The Lessons by Elizabeth Brown

The Lessons by Elizabeth BrownThe Lessons (Forbidden, #1) by Elizabeth Brown
on July 20th 2015
Genres: Dating & Sex, Erotica, Romance
Pages: 344
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Things weren’t exactly going according to my Plan, so I did what most Americans do when confronted with a problem : I hired someone else to fix it.
Except ‘it’ was my virginity.
And that ‘someone else’ was a sex surrogate.
I should have known the answer wouldn’t be that simple.
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The Lessons is a standalone forbidden-love romance told from dual POV with no cliffhanger.
Warning: This story contains mature humor, a lot of cursing, and of course, sexual situations. It is intended for adult readers who enjoy that kind of thing.
Stand-alone book 1 in The Forbidden series.

I’m filing this one under “Must Just Be Me” because it seems to be getting good reviews but it just didn’t work for me. I had so many issues with this book I’m not even sure where to begin. I guess I’ll start with what I did like. Natalie and Ryan are really likeable characters and their chemistry is great. I loved the humor. And… that’s about it.

One StarOne Star

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Never Always Sometimes by Adi AlsaidNever Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Published by Harlequin on August 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Friendship, Love & Romance, Dating & Sex, General
Pages: 304
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Never date your best friend 
Always be original 
Sometimes rules are meant to be broken 
Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school. 
Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. 
Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

Honestly? I finished this book a week ago and really can’t find anything substantial to say about it. I’ll try to articulate what makes this book so dull and forgettable.

Never Always Sometimes is a wannabe John Green book. It tries to follow in JG’s footsteps by creating overly quirky, intelligent characters caricatures who do not resemble any teenagers I’ve ever known. Except, unlike Green’s works and others who have tried to do similar things, this book isn’t particularly well-written or compelling.

These boring friends-turned-lovers characters do not stand out and, in my opinion, don’t offer anything that makes me want to continue turning pages. If I didn’t have an ARC, I wouldn’t have bothered to force my way through it. It was one of those books that I would put down and genuinely not want to pick up again. I only gave it two stars because one star feels like a passionately negative rating and there was nothing to elicit passion here.

Even though I wasn’t crazy in love with Eleanor & Park like many other readers, I still admit that this book just pales in comparison – feeling cheesy and completely unremarkable alongside Rowell’s cute, honest and sometimes dark romance.

The plot is about Dave and Julia who vowed never to fall into any of the regular high school cliches. Now, though, they’re seniors and decide to throw their rules out of the window and find out exactly what they’ve been missing out on. It emerges fairly early that Dave has been in love with Julia forever and he now has a chance to break the ultimate rule – #10, never date your best friend.

I reached the ending with a sigh of relief and without feeling a single emotion for these characters. I think if you want a cute teen romance built on friendship then you should read Eleanor & Park instead.

One StarOne Star