Entangled Publishing has expanded to include several new little book divisions, including a couple for novellas that I thought I’d try for this weekend. The two lines are called “Flirt” and “Ever After” and while there aren’t a large number of books to pick from in either yet, I found a couple that appealed to me. The first is a mini-sequel to Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein, a YA contemporary that I read last year that’s transitioned to a New Adult story now (YAY!). The second is a light and fun adult fantasy by an author who’s new to me, Jennifer Shirk.
The Next Forever (Pretty Amy #1.5)
By Lisa Burstein
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Ever After)
Publication Date: January 13, 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
One night in college can change everything…
Away at college, Amy just wants one night alone without her high school sweetheart, Joe. So when he invites her to go to the library, she heads off on her own instead. How she ended up at a house party with the mysterious bad-boy Trevor is another story…
Joe so isn’t going to the library. He needs space from Amy, too, so he’s decided to rush a fraternity, to get back the swagger he had in high school. But it doesn’t take long for the brothers to invite him to the real rush here the beer is flowing and one particular girl has set her eyes on Joe.
Over the course of one wild night, both Amy and Joe will have to decide if their futures belong with two new people, or whether the next forever will have their first loves in it.
This is a little NA piece that follows Burstein’s YA book, Pretty Amy. I hesitate to call it an epilogue – it feels more like a few extended scenes. I don’t think you need to have read Pretty Amy to appreciate this; the theme is pretty universal and Amy and Joe’s past is tangible even without a lot of context. For anyone interested in it, a super-brief overview: Amy was arrested along with her friends for possession of marijuana. She had a serious identity crisis and after all of her rebelling and problems, realized it was the nice boy next door she’d been looking for the whole time.
I liked this novella because even though it was brief, it hit a major issue a lot of couples transitioning from high school to college face – with that big pool of new guys and girls out there, was our “forever” commitment foolish? I loved that I honestly didn’t know what Amy and Joe were going to do until the last quarter of the novella and that it really could have gone either way.
This was a bittersweet little story because of the subject matter. It reminded me that there are no guarantees of a happily ever after, that those YA romances may not last and that college is a place where you can do things that disappoint even yourself. It made for a great reading experience, even if occasionally my heart gave a little pang. Burstein’s writing skills are also top notch, no worries about readability, which adds immensely to this novella’s appeal! I recommend it.
My Rating: A-
A Little Bit Cupid
By Jennifer Shirk
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Flirt)
Publication Date: January 13, 2013
Genre: Contemporary/Fantasy Romance
Finding love should be easy, but wedding photographer Phoebe Ward knows better. When Cupid shows up on a crazy mission to help her —and save the world in the process—Phoebe realizes love might be even more complicated than she thought. Even with Cupid showing her Mr. Right , she can’t stop thinking about his best friend, Mr. Wrong.
Cal Crawford has never had time for love, but now he’s falling for Phoebe. Which means it’s got to be just plain wrong to set her up with his best friend, right? But even though seeing Phoebe with someone else will break his heart, he can’t walk away from her.
Phoebe can’t afford to choose the wrong guy with the fate of the world at stake. But maybe Cupid has it wrong. Maybe she has to rely just a little bit on Cupid, and a whole lot more on her heart.
This is the way to write a fun, cute little Valentine novella. I zipped right through this one, not necessarily because it was shorter than any other, but because it was so cute, I wanted to get to that happily ever after as fast as I could.
At first, the Cupid set-up felt a little cheesy and overdone, but once Phoebe’s plan was put in motion, I forgot most of it. Cupid himself (or Cupid’s son, technically) was great comic relief; I don’t even know why, but I kept picturing him as Chuy, Chelsea Handler’s sidekick. All of the characters were great. It was nice to read a story where no one was nasty or hated anyone; they were all just in search of love.
This is romantic fantasy, so Phoebe gets a big pass for being so romantically befuddled by her feelings for Adam and Cal. She was quirky without being obnoxious and rather than doing a lot of bland telling about whom she is, the author let her personality and better qualities come through Cal’s admiration of her. Cal is one sexy package of yum – I don’t know how Shirk did it, but in these short pages, she created a wonderful romantic hero that’s better than some I’ve read in full-sized books.
I’ve lucked out with my novella picks this week – both were great in different ways. A Little Bit Cupid is a great light Valentine’s Day read if you’re looking for just a tiny bite to read in between your other festivities.
My Rating: A