Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review: Ninja Girl by Cookie O'Gorman

Ninja Girl Cover Marvelous YA romance!

Ninja Girl by Cookie O'Gorman

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: March 30, 2017
Pages: 202 pages
Source: Prime Membership Program
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

I got this book through the Prime-membership program of one free Kindle book per month and, just as for Kindle Unlimited, Amazon does not list reviews for such books as "verified purchases."

There is absolutely no "sophomore slump" for this author. I loved her first book and this, her second book, is just as good or, in some ways, even better.

This young-adult "dramedy" (part comedy, part drama) is based on a terrific twist on the ever-green, romance-genre trope, the bodyguard romance: This time around, the bodyguard is the heroine! At 16, Korean-American Lee Snow-Soon (or as we say names in America, Snow-Soon Lee, with the surname last), is a masterfully talented martial artist whose greatest hero in life, other than her kick-ass mother who runs a martial arts academy and taught Snow everything she knows, is Bruce Lee (no relation).

The hero, Ash Stryker, is a highly-talented, 17-year-old soccer player whose father is running for the U.S. Senate, and his whole family is being threatened by a dangerous stalker. Unfortunately, the bodyguard hired to protect Ash is inadequate to the task of keeping Ash safe, which leads to Snow's protecting Ash by fending off dual attackers when Ash's professional bodyguard neglects his duty and is not there to do it.

In the wake of this dramatic event, Ash's mother pleads with Snow's mother to allow her to hire Snow to be Ash's bodyguard during weekdays at the private school he attends. Ash is more than happy to have Snow in this position, as he not only greatly admires her martial arts skills but, unknown to both their mothers, he and Snow have a startling history. They recently shared an explosive kiss as two total strangers--a kiss which Snow herself initiated in a dark movie theater as both a personal dare, because she had never been kissed before, and as a test of the man with Ash that night who was obviously his bodyguard but whom Snow suspected was not keeping close enough watch on Ash.

This story is told in dual point of view, of both the heroine and hero, each narrated in first person, but it is always clear as to whose head we are in.

The subcharacters are also very well written, and I particularly enjoyed the fact that the parents are kind, loving and decent human beings. The "orphaning" that is so essential in YA and children's novels so that the protagonists can actively work to solve their own problems is done quite creatively in this novel via the action-adventure portion of the plot.

This extremely well-written YA novel contains the classic, coming-of-age character growth so central to YA fiction, as well as the exciting action-adventure I mentioned and, best of all, a wonderful, G-rated romance that is both tender and passionate.

Speaking from the perspective of a huge fan of the romance genre, who is also quite jaded, for me personally, this is one of the best-written YA romances I've ever read.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Romance Plot: 5

Action-Adventure Plot: 5

Unusual Setting at Martial-Arts Academy: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Book Review: Love Show by Audrey Bell

Love Show Cover Fabulous NA romance!

Love Show by Audey Bell

Reading Level: New Adult
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Audrey Bell
Pages: 355 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

In this wonderful, quirky and very appealing new adult (NA) romance, the heroine Hadley Arrington is an extremely independent and idealistic young woman who has the very clear and ambitious goal to become a war correspondent for a big, mainstream newspaper and, meanwhile, she is the Editor-in-Chief of her university’s prestigious newspaper. Hadley's love interest, Jack Diamond, is the dead opposite. He has no apparent ambition and, on the surface seems to be skating through life on his good looks and charm. When one night, on a dare, Hadley picks him out of a crowd and kisses him in the rain, the collision creates long-term changes in both of them and their lives.

I was stunned by this novel. It is definitely one of the very best romance novels I've read in years. I especially liked the hero, who stands out as unique among cardboard-cutout, "manwhore" NA heroes. I also vastly enjoyed the sophistication of the romantic conflict compared to every other NA romance novel I've read, and I've read a lot of them. (Not every one ever written, of course, but a lot.) The first meet and the second meet are priceless, the movement from friends to lovers extremely well done, and the construction of the romantic ending is particularly good.

I've been trying to find Kindle editions of all of this wonderful author's books, but only two are listed on Amazon, and of her other two books, only one is available, and only in paper, and the other isn't listed for sale on Amazon at all. Worse, this author's contact info for Twitter and a website on her author page here on Amazon and on Goodreads is wrong. The links are dead ends. So disappointing.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Writing: 5

Coming of Age Plot - Heroine: 5

Coming of Age Plot - Hero: 5

Romance Plot: 5

Overall: 5