Boyfriend Chronicles #3: Boomerang Boyfriend – Chris Cannon

Horror story of the month in only one sentence … I voluntarily read a romance novel. Would someone please alert a paramedic?

Delia: I have no idea what’s going on with Aiden. Never again will I kiss a boy first. Now he’s being all weird and mysterious. I think I need to move on and find a new boy. Not that I need a male in my life to make it complete or anything. Maybe if I paint some more it’ll help. Ugh! There’s Zoe’s brother, Jack. Why is he always such a jerk?

Jack: Ever since Dad and Grandpa died in the accident I’ve been the only male in the house. Sure, I go to Trevor’s place a lot. Rocky is a great dog and he likes it when I sneak him bits of pepperoni off my pizza, even though Trevor’s mother said not to. I like being at Trevor’s place but it can’t make up for Dad and Grandpa being gone. Sometimes I feel so alone. It doesn’t help that my younger sister Zoe and Delia, her annoying best friend, are always giggling in the kitchen at home. Doesn’t Delia have a home to go to?

Delia: I really should get a job. Mum and Dad don’t have any money to spare and it’s not fair to expect them to pay for my art supplies. It’s interesting that Mum and Dad have always had money troubles and because a few things broke recently they’re sort of having to budget to afford decent groceries yet I have my own truck. Hmm … Anyway … Guess what, Zoe? I just got a job as the new Pie Princess at Betty’s Burgers. Isn’t that so exciting? That’s where Jack the Jerk works. Let’s not tell him I got the job and surprise him. That’ll be fun.

Jack: What? First she takes over my home and now I can’t escape her at work either?

Delia: Ah, art class. Nothing beats it. What do you mean another class is joining ours because their teacher went on maternity leave early?!

Jack: What? Now I can’t escape her during art class either?

Delia: I don’t want to have to draw Jack’s portrait. Hey! When did Jack get so cute?! No, wait. I can’t think about him like that. He’s like an older brother.

Jack: And now I have to draw her too … Hey! When did Delia become pretty?! No, wait. I can’t think about her like that. She’s like a little sister.

Delia: I’m so confused.

Jack: I’m so confused.

I’m so confused. I’m way outside of my comfort zone here. I’m more of a horror girl and usually avoid romances like they’re diseased. I’m much more comfy reading about people getting chopped to bits than getting kissed. That’s why I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I quite enjoyed this book. It would make a good holiday read, incorporating Thanksgiving and the lead up to Christmas. My main pet peeve, but this seems to be a fairly universal romance novel annoyance, is people trying to keep their relationship a secret and forgetting how to communicate.

Boomerang Boyfriend contains plenty of sweet and lovely bits. There’s plenty of introspection and just enough tragedy and heartache in everyone’s life (think death, grief and addiction) that ensures the romance isn’t all consuming, until near the end when I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room.

I loved that Delia stumbled upon some of her quirkiness out of necessity but then made it her own when she discovered a passion, and I enjoyed her snarky side. But girl, seriously? You don’t need to ask a boy’s permission to go out with a friend on a Friday night. Grr! And playing little word games like you don’t understand what he’s saying so he’ll kiss you? I may have just vomited in my mouth a little. Oh, and I’m so mad at her for ditching her friend date with Aiden when she knew how important it was to him after she’d already promised him she’d go.

OK, so maybe I’m more cranky with Delia than loving her but at least Chris Cannon made me care about her protagonists before I wanted to hit them over the head for annoying me. And Jack, jealous much? You and Delia only kissed for the first time, what, maybe four days ago and you’ve got your cranky pants on over her sitting with a boy at lunch she’s sat with for, let me think, the entire book? Not cool, Jack the Jerk.

I was really liking both Delia and Jack, even when they first started kissing. Then they started questioning their relationship and their stupid started showing. Is there something in ‘How to Write a Romance’ that says your protagonists’ brain cells must fall out of their ears each time they kiss? Moving on!

I adored Zoe and Jack’s grandma and wanted to hang out with her. I wanted to pull up a chair in the kitchen and chat with Zoe while she baked, and of course be her quality control test dummy for all of the yummies that came out of the oven. I definitely wanted to go to Betty’s Burgers for dinner, or maybe just dessert. Plus there are two adorable dogs in the story, Rocky and Buddy, who steal the limelight with their innate cuteness.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I’m actually interested in reading more of Chris Cannon’s Boyfriend Chronicles series. I just hope for my Kindle’s sake that the main characters don’t halve their IQ’s once their relationship commences. Seriously, has anyone got a thermometer? Oh, yay! She also writes paranormal novels!

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC’s Teen Crush imprint, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Working with her best friend’s brother at Betty’s Burgers, free-spirited Delia starts to see Jack in a new light. Not only has Jack-the-Jerk turned into a hottie, he’s even acting like a nice guy, who rescues dogs and knows how she likes her coffee. But if Jack is into her, then why is he keeping her a secret? Of course, if her best friend doesn’t approve, Delia could lose the only family she’s ever known.

Seeing Delia in her retro waitress uniform throws Jack’s world out of whack. She’s always been just another pain in the butt little sister … not a datable female. But she’s rockin’ the Pie Princess tiara, and even her hot-pink striped hair is sexy. What’s that about? He needs to get his head on straight, because artsy, funky Delia and her nonconformist ways don’t fit in his safe and ordered world.

Black Bird of the Gallows – Meg Kassel

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly … Sorry, I kept hearing this song each time I read the title and music does feature in the book so it’s not completely out there …

The first thing I absolutely have to address about Black Bird of the Gallows is that cover. If you want people to need to buy a book without even knowing what it’s about, then it seems like L.J. Anderson from Mayhem Cover Creations is your go to person. I simply adore the cover design and use of colour. I want a huge framed print of this cover artwork for my wall so I can constantly admire it.

Now, where was I? Oh, the book. I really enjoyed it. What was it about? The birds and the bees, but not the way you’re thinking!

Angie has had it tough, spending a large part of her upbringing living in a van or at random mens’ places with her drug addicted mother. While she’s still haunted by her past, she now lives with her father, one of the most adorably sweet fathers I’ve come across in real life or the other real life (books). She has great friends, Lacey and Deno, and her very own secret identity as Sparo, a DJ in a nightclub.

The house next door has been vacant since a tragedy made it impossible to sell. However, one day a moving truck appears and lo and behold, Angie spies (literally, through binoculars) the new cute boy moving in next door with his family. Mystery cute boy with the dark eyes isn’t what he appears to be and as Angie gets to know him, she learns he’s not quite as human as he looks, and apparently he looks really, really good.

I loved the whole premise of this story. I’m a sucker for anything mythological so naturally I was drawn in by the origin stories of the tortured harbingers and Beekeepers. I wanted to know more about them though and I definitely wanted a backstory for the Strawmen. I’d love to read something from all of their perspectives that shed more of a light on them. Plus there’s indications there are other entities/creatures/part human part something else types in this world and I want all the details about them as well.

I had two favourite characters in this book. Rafette, who we spend a considerable amount of the book running from or on the lookout for, is someone I really empathised with. I found myself seeing the story from his point of view and didn’t view him as a baddie at all. Maybe it’s partly due to the soft spot I have for bees but my heart broke for Rafette and the pain he’s endured in his life. I need to know so much more about him! And best friend Lacey … supportive, intuitive and loving, yet willing to bash her best friend over the head with a golf club if that’s what it takes to keep her safe. I loved Lacey!

Tissues Used: 0, which surprised me as I came prepared. Although my icy cold heart experienced somewhat of an earthquake, none of the cracks melted into tears.

Food craved during reading: Pancakes. Oh, they sounded so delectably droolworthy.

Something I thought would be important to remember when reading or rereading: The names and stories of those you don’t think will come back into the story. I found sections of this book to be in the ‘six degrees of separation’ category where peoples’ stories linked together like one big crow shaped jigsaw puzzle. Prepare to get halfway through the book and go ‘oh, I remember them!’

Now for the niggles:

  • A minor thing, sure, but what’s Reece’s real name?
  • The insta-love frustrated me along with the whole ‘our love is destined to be doomed and we’ll both be miserable for all of eternity or for as long as we live (whichever is applicable) so we shouldn’t be together. But first, let’s kiss some more’.
  • Reece telling Angie that he’s been in love with her since they were six. Now, this would have been worthy of an aww if not for the fact that he would’ve been about 190, give or take a few years, at that stage which kind of morphed my aww into eww!.
  • The whole thing about the big ‘event’ when loved ones are being searched for. When they all meet up at Angie’s house after being separated did Angie not wonder or bother to ask Deno if his parents were alive or dead?
  • You know the whole horror movie girl victim/heroine who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the door? I had that frustration with Angie. I kept wanting to yell at her to just leave! You can’t say she didn’t have ample warning time, yet she still managed to wind up caught up in the ‘event’ like everyone else. What use is fair warning if you don’t listen, sweetheart?

So, my rating. If I didn’t have this many niggles, the writing would’ve deserved 5 stars. The niggles and frustration I felt while I was reading would usually have made it a 3 stars but the writing was just so darn good. So I’m splitting the difference and giving this 4 stars.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC, for the opportunity to read this book. I will definitely read future books by Meg Kassel.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece — and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.