Thursday, 24 May 2012

Summer Shorts: Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman & The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland.

Product details:
Publisher: Random House Children's Books.
Release date:  May 8th 2012.
Hardcover, 208 pages.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Netgalley.

It's the summer before senior year and the alluring Angel is ready to have fun. She's not like her best friend, Inggy, who has a steady boyfriend, good grades, and college plans. Angel isn't sure what she wants to do yet, but she has confidence and experience beyond her years. Still, her summer doesn't start out as planned. Her good friend Joey doesn't want to fool around anymore, he wants to be her boyfriend, while Angel doesn't want to be tied down. As Joey pulls away, and Inggy tours colleges, Angel finds herself  spending more time with Inggy's boyfriend, Cork. With its cast of vivid and memorable characters, this tale from the Jersey shore is sure to make some waves.

If you like summer reads of the sweet and innocent coming of age type, then this is not the book for you! A fun summer romp on Jersey Shore, Beth Ann Bauman’s Jersey Angel follows the life and loves of seventeen year old Angel Cassonetti, as she embarks on a summer of fun and hook ups.  And that’s about it really.  Jersey Angel is plot light in that it doesn’t really have much of a plot.   It’s just a breezy summer read with added raunch.  Angel is a girl with some pretty loose morals, and she doesn’t face the consequences of her actions, which are mostly pretty low, especially in relation to her best friend, Inggy. Angel is a girl who sets her sights on what she wants and then she goes and gets it. It’s not that Angel doesn’t care about the people standing in her way, it’s just that it mostly doesn’t even enter her mind to consider them before she jumps into bed with their boyfriend.

All the same, Angel is not all bad.  She has a sometimes sweet relationship with her ex, Joey, who she genuinely seems to care about, just not enough to date him. Angel doesn’t really understand why Joey wants to be exclusive – she just wants the no strings hook up thing.  She does have a cute and caring relationship with her siblings, though, and that’s her main saving grace, that, and the fact that she doesn’t take life too seriously, which is refreshing in itself.  In hindsight, Angel could probably benefit from taking life a little bit more seriously, but hey, summers when you’re seventeen are all about having as much fun as you can.

Just like its protagonist, Jersey Angel is an easy read – and is perfect for a hot day at the beach.

Product details:
Publisher: Speak.
Release date: May 10th 2012.
Paperback, 250 pages.
Rating: 2½ out of 5
Ages: 12+
Source: Netgalley.

Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.

 Elizabeth Margaret, or Em as she is known to friends, has always lived her life by the rules, and oh, do her controlling parents make sure there are rules, lots of rules! So, from her summer internship at her dad’s law firm-to her degree at Harvard- to her future career in law- absolutely everything in Em’s life has been planned right down to the final detail.  Em is tiring of living her life this way-she would love to pursue her dream of becoming a chef - but what can she do? This is the way her life has always been, and it doesn’t look as if things are going to change now.

Then, out of the blue, she receives an invitation from her long lost aunt Tilly to spend summer at her B&B in the Outer Banks. This is Em’s dream come true, and surprisingly her parents grudgingly agree that she can go. Finally. This is the summer that Em has been waiting for—the summer of her dreams, the summer of fun, and the summer of love. It’s also a summer of family secrets so big, that when uncovered, Em’s life will never be the same again.

I love coming-of-age reads with sunny settings and sweet romances, and while this book does fit that description, it also fell flat for me on a lot of counts, with characters that didn’t ring true and dialogue that was forced and stilted. The Summer My Life Began had all this potential to be a good beach read, but unfortunately it turned out to be all a little tame, all a little predictable, and overall a little dull, just like the big family secret contained within its pages.


  1.  I'm sorry to hear that these books both fell felt for you. I have to admit that I was more keen to read The Summer My Life began as opposed to Jersey Angel, but now I'm not so sure about both. Angel doesn't really sound like a character I would like or connect with - especially considering the fact that she's so oblivious to anyone else's feelings but her own. Great review of both books Leanna. Mind you, I would probably pick up The Summer my Life Began at the library - but probably won't go out of my way to buy it.

  2. I agree that both books fell a bit flat. I think the problem with The Summer My Life Began is that it's for a younger age, because my middle school girls LOVE it!  It's just that sweet, predictable summer read that they seem to gravitate towards, whereas Jersey Angel definitely took me by surprise- I was not expecting all the raunchiness....that was a little bit more entertaining.  Great reviews, Leanna. I love the "summer shorts"....cute name!

  3. Fab reviews. I adore your honesty in them. <3

  4. Wow, I have read some SCATHING reviews of Jersey Angel by other bloggers, yours is way tame by comparison:) It sounds like Jersey shore in book form. So I'll probably skip that one:) (Though I kinda like the cover!) 

    The Summer My Life Began appeals to me only because of the setting. I have always wanted to visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Still, that may not be enough to hold my attention. Thanks for sharing you honest reviews, Leanna:) 

  5. The Summer My Life Began was definitely predictable for me as well, I knew exactly how things were going to play out, but despite that, I still had fun reading it. I would have loved some more depth to all the characters as I think there was a ton of potential there with the family situation:) Fabulous reviews both Leanna!

  6. daisychainbooks25 May 2012 at 16:34

     I actually preferred Jersey Angel to The Summer My Life Began --although as you may have guessed from my reviews I wouldn't class either as absolute must reads! :)

  7. daisychainbooks25 May 2012 at 16:35

     Thanks! :) I agree Summer My Life Began is one that will probably be enjoyed by younger readers. I needed something more though. :)

  8. daisychainbooks25 May 2012 at 16:35

     Honest and stingy with the 5/5's --that's me! ;)

  9. daisychainbooks25 May 2012 at 16:37

     I've read some pretty harsh reviews of Jersey Angel too --honestly, it wasn't all bad but I know some people are just going to hate the MC. I didn't mind her so much. She was just having fun and only thinking of herself as you do when you're seventeen, y'know? ;)

  10. daisychainbooks25 May 2012 at 16:38

     Thanks, Jenny! I think there was some great potential there too, but it fell a little flat for me overall.

  11. I'm glad I didn't plan to read these two in the first place, but also sorry that they didn't work for you. I always have very huge expectations when I'm starting a new summer read. I'm currently reading Second Chance Summer and it doesn't disappoint:)

  12. daisychainbooks28 May 2012 at 20:48

     Glad to hear it! I'm reading that one next! :)


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