A Favor for a Favor by Helena Hunting

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Librarian Laura’s Review of A Favor for a Favor

A Favor for a Favor R3Book 2 in the All In series was just as good, if not better than, the first one (A Lie for a Lie). Readers will be happy to see Rook (RJ) and Lainey pop up quite a bit in this story, which is Rook’s little sister, Stevie’s story. Stevie is strong and she has spunk. She’s honestly one of my favorite female characters in a long while. She changes her hair color frequently and doesn’t take crap from anyone. Unfortunately for Stevie, the book starts with her finding her boyfriend Joey with another woman on their couch in their new apartment on her birthday. Talk about a bad day! Her older brother, RJ, a Seattle hockey player with loads of money and fame, offers his penthouse apartment since he and Lainey and their toddler Kody live in a house across town. Her arrival to said apartment, however, is momentous, and not in a good way, thanks to the uber-hot guy across the hall. Their first interaction is in the middle of the night; Stevie is tired, mad at her ex, and in a general mood unfavorable toward men. Can you blame her? The racket she makes while trying to get in the apartment wakes up the bear. The half-naked bear of a man she won’t soon forget, that is. Bishop, who seems to have a new pair of ridiculous boxers on (and nothing else) each morning when he retrieves his paper, assumes that Stevie is RJ’s mistress, and treats her as such, in his irritating cold and smug manor. Stevie assumes that the gorgeous females rotating through Bishop’s apartment are his conquests, which is also inaccurate. Then Stevie finds out Bishop is one of RJ’s teammates when he receives a serious groin injury during preseason. Stevie, a physiotherapist, has just started a new job at the college, where unfortunately her obnoxious cheating ex, Joey, works. Then, Billboard Boxers (as she and her new friends refer to her hot neighbor) asks her for a favor. And you always return a favor with a favor, right? Stevie starts additional therapy for Bishop which is a win-win because he gets back to the ice sooner, and she gets to treat a professional athlete and get a letter of recommendation. Stevie needs a little help from Bishop acting as her “fake boyfriend” to ward off Joey and his aloof reasoning for them to get back together. Bishop’s fake boyfriend skills are hot, hot, hot! But, it turns out they need each other more than they want to admit to themselves. The lines between fake and real begin to blur and are soon completely obliterated. But, there’s the problem of big brother RJ, who isn’t too happy with Bishop going after her “baby sister.” And another issue – Stevie wants nothing to do with the limelight of a famous hockey player. She doesn’t want the fame – she only wants him.

I highly recommend this angst-filled, hate-to-love, sports romance. Helena Hunting is a rock star and I devour everything she writes. I read this in one evening and couldn’t put it down. I loved Stevie and Bishop’s story, perhaps even better than RJ and Lainey. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for another of RJ’s teammates, King, in Book 3 (A Secret for a Secret) which is expected in May 2020.

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR for providing me with an early review copy in exchange for honest feedback.

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About Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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The Voice in My Head by Dana L. Davis

imagesOriginally published in School Library Journal, May 2019.

Gr. 9 & Up: Davis’s second YA novel set in Seattle, follows 18 year old black twins Indigo and Violet and their chaotic family on an unlikely road trip. While attempting suicide, Indigo hears a voice say that her terminally ill twin Violet will live if she hikes the Wave, a 2 ½ mile scenic rock formation in the Arizona desert. Unsure whether the voice is God or a symptom of a concussion, Indigo bravely pleads to her family before Violet’s medically assisted death plans unfold. Thanks to a resourceful Pastor, Jeb, everything falls in place allowing the family to set off in a rainbow-colored paratransport bus covered in eyeballs. Pastor, the twins, their retired parents, a 16 year old brother Alfred, and 33 year old nurse practitioner sister Michelle and her husband and biracial children are a motley group of passengers, seeking healing for Violet’s pulmonary fibrosis. From kidney stones to an attempted robbery with a paintball gun, there is never a dull moment for the Phillips family. Indigo’s perspective of herself and her family changes along the way, allowing her acceptance and hope. The writing is refreshing and characters relatable. Though the novel tackles heavy subject matter of terminal illness, mental health, and death; light-hearted, comical scenes make for a heartfelt, yet entertaining read. VERDICT: Readers of diverse realistic fiction will enjoy the sibling banter, unique characters and authentic dialogue.

 

Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde

9781629725277_d7a2e

Originally published in School Library Journal, March 2019.

Gr 9 & Up – Midway through her senior year, 17-year-old Addie Foster is sent for inpatient psychiatric therapy at Seattle Regional Hospital for OCD. Quick-witted and literary-minded, she dreams of being a playwright. Making some unlikely, but unique friends from the first day of group therapy, Addie accepts that she needs help, while handsome, mysterious Fitz is desperate to leave after two years of treatment. Grieving and guilt-ridden, Fitz, a schizophrenic, mentions San Juan Island and the name Quentin, but not offering any details to Addie. Unlike Addie, whose supportive mother visits, Fitz’s mother blames him and has never visited. Innocent romance sparks for Fitz and Addie, their shared passion for literature kindling their companionship. When the truth of Fitz’s past is revealed to Addie, she is forced to take a painful look at their relationship and her own future. The ending is hopeful, albeit a touch predictable. Author Spencer Hyde, having spent much of his high school years in inpatient therapy for severe OCD, provides an accurate, honest rendering of teenage mental illness. VERDICT: Fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven will enjoy this realistic, yet PG portrayal of some heavy subject matter.