Review: Random by Tom Leveen

Book Title: Random
Author: Tom Leveen
Publish Date: August 12th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall andThirteen Reasons Why.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It’s a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

Disclaimer: I received this book from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book had so much potential to force the reader to take a good, hard look at how they treat others and how their actions can have devastating consequences. I was excited about this one and I wanted to love it so badly, but it just didn’t work for me.

This book was very short, but it was also very fast paced, something that I would have liked a lot if the book itself had been compelling, which it was not. I found that I was forcing myself to read this book, in the hope that it would somehow start getting better and better as the book continued.

But I was utterly bored through the majority of it. There seemed to be a disproportionate amount of dialogue to the rest of the book. I wanted less dialogue. I mean, I know lots of dialogue would be necessary for this book, but I wanted more scene setting and descriptive language.

None of the characters really intrigued me either. Tori was a bitch who clearly didn’t understand that, yes, she was partially to blame for the death of someone she knew. Andy & Noah were both boring as hell. The character development was pretty much non-existent. I know it can be hard to develop the characters fully in such a short book, but the author didn’t even try to develop them at all. They were all very one-dimensional, which bummed me out big time.

I thought for the longest time that Andy was screwing with her and that he wasn’t actually serious about his plans to commit suicide. Which of course, enraged me even more. Committing suicide is not something to joke about. Just the idea of that makes me so mad all over again. It’s serious stuff not to be taken lightly. I wish more people would realize that. It’s not a joke, it’s not funny. I didn’t think I would have such a strong negative reaction to this book, but I did.

The revelation at the end also pissed me off. I could not believe that the author took the story this way. It felt like the entire book was a complete waste of time and it made me wonder why the heck I had forced myself to read this book if it was going to end this way. 

This book was a colossal waste of my time and I am so upset because it really had the power to be something fantastic, but it was horribly executed. I’ll be giving this book 1.5 stars.

Review: Random (Going The Distance #1) by Lark O’Neal

Book Title: Random (Going The Distance #1)
Author: Lark O’Neal
Release Date: November 12th, 2013
Publisher: Barbra Samuel
Genre: NA Romance
Series: Book 1 in Going The Distance
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Life is random…

19-year-old Jess Donovan knows better than most that life is random. Her mom is dead, and she’s on her own, patching together a living as a waitress when a car crashes through the restaurant where she works. In two seconds, she loses her job, watches her best friend hauled away in an ambulance…and meets Tyler Smith, one of the hottest, most fascinating—and mysterious guys she’s ever met. 

Both for the good and the bad…

Within days, Jess is swept up into the mesmerizing force that is Tyler. Their every touch sizzles, every kiss dissolves them both, and the sex is…fierce. But there’s more to Tyler than his hypnotic eyes. He’s adrift, too, and his body—and his soul—are covered with scars. How can she find herself with a guy who is lost himself? 

Until you take charge….

Jess is determined to find her way, and make a life that is better than the one she was given. But how?

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

It’s no secret that I have had very little luck with NA recently. It’s pretty much down to only two authors who have made NA enjoyable for me. I received this book back in 2013 and I realized that I wanted to read it now. I wanted to get all of the 2013 ARC’s/e-ARC’s off of my review log so I could focus on the new ones. While I didn’t hate this book, I didn’t love it either.

We first meet Jess the morning of a huge accident at her workplace. I liked her instantly. She seemed smart, funny and kind. Later on that day, after her workplace gets plowed into by a car, we meet her boyfriend Rick. What an absolute prick he was. Wow, he was the stereotypical musician with a band. I saw no redeeming qualities in this jackass.I was beyond relieved when Jess finally ended the relationship that night.

Now Tyler was a sweetheart and I thought he was great for Jess. He wasn’t into all the stuff that Rick was into so Jess was about to escape that life. She wanted something different for herself which I loved. I loved how they didn’t rush into sex. They started off pretty slowly especially considering that this was an NA book. However it seemed like once they did the deed, that was all they did
At one point Jess says she needs to talk to him about his past that he was so secretive about. Yet talking didn’t happen. She showed up at his place and within seconds nakedness ensued. That drove me crazy. Especially since Jess had been so certain that she needed to talk to him about his family and his “rough years”
They talked about Tyler’s attractiveness nearly constantly. Multiple times I felt like saying “Um, we already know he’s attractive. Tell us something else.” It’s great when a guy is phyiscally attractive but there has got to be more to a guy than his physical attributes.
Cheating is one of the major dealbreakers I have when it comes to books so I was thrilled that Jess didn’t cheat on Rick. He may have been an asshole but Jess took the high road and just broke up with him before getting involved with Tyler.
I wanted to absolutely adore the characters but I ended up not adoring them. I liked them both but I didn’t adore them. Jess’ self esteem was in the toilet which drove me crazy.Her self esteem seemed to be attached to her relationship with Rick. She seemed to feel unworthy of better things. Plus she was incredibly naive which on occasion drove me nuts. Tyler wasn’t much better. He clearly didn’t have a backbone when it came to his family and his family or at least his sister seemed to know that and work it to her advantage. I wanted Tyler to stand up for Jess against his family, but he didn’t.
So this book gets 3 stars. Some parts were good but the characters oftentimes drove me insane to the point where I wasn’t even sure I wanted to finish the book. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series.Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It’s not a series that I am just dying to finish or anything. It was better than several NA’s I’ve read recently so give it a shot,you could end up really enjoying it.