Author: Julianna Keyes

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ARC Review: Undeclared

March 13, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★

ARC Review: UndeclaredUndeclared (Burnham College, #2) by Julianna Keyes
Published by Julianna Keyes on February 27th 2017
Pages: 236
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Undecided
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Goodreads
three-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up.
It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind.
Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her.
Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about.
Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.

Undecided was one of my favorite books last year, and easily the best NA book that I read. It was hilarious, easy to relate to, and memorable. I was beyond excited for Kellan’s story, but sadly, I didn’t find him to be as compelling and swoony as Crosbie. Honestly, I was just even more prepared to read Undecided all over again after reading this one. It definitely wasn’t bad, I just didn’t fully relate to it in the way that I was anticipating. This one had a bit more angst to it and a lot more side stories and characters. I would totally read a third book if Keyes decides to continue on, but this wasn’t my favorite. Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time.

Like I said, I didn’t love Kellan as much as my boy Crosbie. I found him intriguing in Undecided and in dire need of a girl to set him straight. I’m never a major fans of big playboys, and that’s exactly what Kellan is. Fortunately though, we don’t see that side of him in this book, he’s now a lot more grounded and less focused on women as a whole. He had his swoony moments, but I just wasn’t blown away by him for the most part. I thought he was a good guy, but not overly memorable. My standards might have been too high to begin with, but they still weren’t met. I’m glad that he received his own story, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

Andi was Kellan’s love interest. She and Kellan have serious history with each other. I’ll talk more about their relationship and how it started in the next paragraph. So basically I feel like we don’t know enough about Andi. The main thing that we know about her is that she’s a tomboy who is on the volleyball team and loves playing all sports. She also has a strong idea about what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Other than that though, I didn’t feel very connected to her. I wanted to learn more about her personality and interests. Maybe part of it was that we didn’t get her perspective at all, I’m not sure. All I know is that I wanted more information. With what we knew, I wasn’t completely able to relate to her like I did with Nora. She was a good character with a good personality, but not memorable since I didn’t fully understand her and what she was all about as a person.

So as I mentioned, Kellan and Andi have some serious personal history. They were next door neighbors and best friends growing up. They also had a summer fling the summer before Kellan left for college. Andi was the person that the big playboy lost his virginity to. I’m typically a fan of second chance romances. I wasn’t 100% okay with this one because I thought that it was messed up how he knew that Andi was in love with him for so long but he still strung her along and treated her like crap. Sometimes he wasn’t even aware of what we was doing, but he still knew how she felt about him. I thought his past behavior was wrong, he could have handled how things went between them towards the end of their first romance way better. I did think that things between them were pretty steamy. I did like them as a couple once they got everything figured out, it just took them a very long time to finally get there.

Undeclared wasn’t a bad story by any means, but I simply didn’t enjoy it as much as I did Undecided. I’m not sure exactly what it was about it that didn’t completely click with me, I think it might have been the characters and the plot. I felt like some of the plot was a little scattered in how it focused on other characters outside of Andi and Kellan. I know that sounds weird to say, but there was this freshman who Kellan briefly goes out with and I thought it was weird how the plot spent some time on her. In my opinion, that time could have been spent on giving us even more insight into who Andi is and more of her friendship with Kellan. The writing was great, I just didn’t love this one in the end.

three-stars

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ARC Review: Undecided

March 19, 2016 Reviews 1 ★★★★★

ARC Review: UndecidedUndecided by Julianna Keyes
on April 4th, 2016
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Undeclared (Burnham College, #2)
Reading Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
four-flames

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

***PRE-ORDER "UNDECIDED" ANY TIME BEFORE APRIL 4, 2016 TO RECEIVE A FREE BONUS PACKAGE OF BEHIND-THE-SCENES INFO & A SNEAK PEEK AT THE FIRST CHAPTER***
Details at www.juliannakeyes.com
Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.
Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.
But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…
Publisher's note: This is not a sweet romance. There is plenty of sex and swearing. Enjoy!

Typically, I do my best to wait until the week or day of a release date to post a review. With Undecided, I have so many positive things to say that I just can’t wait a few more weeks to share my thoughts. A lot of these early reviews coming in for this book have reported that this book has no love triangle. I decided to include this in mine anyway, because it feels so important to note. This is a fabulous book about a seriously realistic college experience. All too often, I feel like these NA books portray college life that would never really happen. I highly recommend checking this book out!

Before I get into more about how great the characters and the plot are, I want to reveal more about the romance. I know that some people want to be aware exactly what the romance is, and this synopsis hints at having some sort of secret that the MC keeps from the love interest. So I’m going to spoil that specific part so you guys who might be suspicious of love triangles can know EXACTLY what happens. Warning: I am including details about some events that happen near the end of the book, don’t read it if you don’t want to be spoiled. If you do choose to read it, I hope that it will convince you to give this book a try!

View Spoiler »

Nora is a fabulous and relatable protagonist. In high school, Nora was under the radar and was what some may consider to be boring. Once she gets to college, she starts to get caught up in going to frat parties with her friend Marcela. After getting arrested, she decides that she needs to get her grades and act together so she can still attend school. She enjoys her identity around Kellan and Crosbie, they view her as being a nerd, and don’t know about her partying past. She’s just an honest and real character to me. One of my favorite things about her is that she doesn’t know what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Her major is still undecided, hence the title. Even better, she doesn’t magically discover what she wants to do next as the book progresses because of Crosbie or anything like that, she still has no clue at the end of the book. I like how the author shows that it’s totally acceptable to not know what you want to do after college. I know there are other NA stories out there with this similar storyline, but I always find it refreshing to see.

You guys, Crosbie is the book boyfriend I’ve been waiting for. Yes, he’s in a fraternity and he has a reputation of hooking up and partying, but there’s so much more to him than just that. This book has no insta-love. I will say there is some instant attraction going on, but there’s still a strong buildup to the relationship. At first, Nora feels like he hardly notices her at all, but gradually it becomes more and more obvious that he notices her a lot more frequently than she thinks. Crosbie is a track star so he clearly has a nice body, which Nora tries and fails not to notice. She believes that he’s a distraction that she doesn’t need while she goes back on the path of trying not to be noticed. One thing that is different about this wonderful boy is that he likes performing magic tricks. Excuse me, he actually calls them illusions. Seriously though, I’ve never come across a love interest that has this hobby. Can more authors please follow Keyes’s lead here? This is a small detail, but I think it shows that he’s more than just an athlete or a frat boy. He’s never been in a real relationship before, but let me tell you, some of the things he says to Nora and the gifts that he gives her will pretty much make you melt.

Honestly, there’s so much to like about this book. I’ve never read anything else by Julianna Keyes, but I did read that this is her first NA book. If I didn’t know that, I would have thought that she’s been writing these stories for quite a long time. She just knows so much about college life. I feel like each character was well developed, even the supporting ones. It’s hard not to love Kellan, even though he’s a complete manwhore. I can’t wait for Keyes to give him a little happily ever after of his own. I also want Marchela and Nate to get a book of their own. Anyway, you guys need to look out for this one when it releases April 4th!

five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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