Sunday, July 19, 2015

Double Feature Review: Dating and Mating

By Sara Steven

Siding with Plato by Michelle Manning

Brooke Aarons can't get to college fast enough. Leaving behind her small town life, she intends to transform herself into a brilliant psychologist with no distractions along the way. But when she finds herself on a double date with the school's star football player - and worse, enjoying it - Brooke has to wonder if she's the one who needs her head examined. James Cartwright's easy life, endless bucks, and long line of willing girls should make him a non-starter for Brooke, but as she learns, the psychology behind a bad crush is a whole lot messier of a subject. Maybe Plato was right. Maybe love is a serious mental disease. If so, Brooke doesn't have long to find a cure before James's attention proves to be a terminal condition. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Siding with Plato reminded me of the 90’s teen and college drama television shows I used to watch during the glory days of my youth; very Beverly Hills, 90210. I felt like I was along for the ride with Brooke while she’s venturing outside of the life she’s known, meeting new and interesting college friends who later become her closest allies. There are cute frat boys who live right across the hall, introducing Brooke to all the coolest college parties and raves. We can’t forget the mean girls; the college sorority chicks who set out to make Brooke’s life absolutely miserable. There’s even the neighborhood coffee shop stoner!

When Brooke falls for James, I get the feeling he’s that first real crush, the one you never, ever forget. There are a lot of ups and downs for this couple, and even at the end of the book, you’re left wondering what’s next for Brooke and James. Will they work out, or is James a stepping stone to someone more suited for Brooke? Maybe this will segue into a sequel, where we fast forward five years and find out what’s become of not just Brooke and James, but the other characters, too, especially the coffee shop stoner and the mean sorority girls. I’d love to hear how their lives turned out.

Plato is a sweet read and just the kind of book that will satisfy your own need for nostalgia. I know it did for mine!

Thanks to Authoright for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Maybe Tonight 
by Kim Golden

I thoroughly enjoyed Kim Golden’s Maybe Baby, a love story told entirely from lead character Laney’s perspective. When I heard that Kim had written a follow-up novella that offers the chance to better understand Mads, Laney’s love interest, I jumped at the opportunity.

In Maybe Tonight, we’re given the back story into how Mads met Laney. It all began with a chance encounter at a mixer for a progressive sperm donor organization, where Laney attends as a potential client, and Mads as a potential donor. From this bizarre circumstance, a love story begins. Usually, we’re only offered up one character’s insight into a story and have to guess or imagine how the other characters are feeling or thinking, but Tonight gives us better clarity into what makes Laney and Mads work, the struggles they face while dealing with very difficult yet entirely fathomable situations.

Although much of the novella contains repeated scenes told in Maybe Baby, I felt the story line continued because it didn’t just end with Laney. A lot more has been revealed by gaining Mads’ perspective. There is a struggle within him to be with the woman he loves, although she’s not entirely available. He wants to branch out and do more with his passion in life (he’s a carpenter) yet he feels he can’t afford to leave his side job with the sperm donor organization. Imagine running into a client on the street, and she’s pushing a baby in the stroller. A baby who you’ve helped create. One who you know you’ll never be able to interact with or be involved with. It's a bi-product of his side job. His side job is crushing his spirit.

Before reading Maybe Tonight, I highly suggest reading Maybe Baby, first. The two go hand in hand. You’ll enjoy the love story between these two, however unconventional it might be, and that’s what’s so great about it. An awkward, real, and raw look at how two people destined for entirely different life experiences have come together to forge their own path.

Thanks to Kim Golden for the book in exchange for an honest review.