Arc Book Review: If Only by A.J. Pine & Guest post!

April 3, 2014 Blog, Book Reviews 1

Arc Book Review: If Only by A.J. Pine & Guest post!

I received this book for free from RockStar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Arc Book Review: If Only by A.J. Pine & Guest post!If Only by A.J. Pine
Published by Entangled: Embrace on March 24th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 342
Source: RockStar Book Tours
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.

It's been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it's been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.

Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.

Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.


my thoughts doneIf only!!!

If only I had not cried during half of this!

If only I had not fallen for BOTH guys in this book! ACK

If only this book wouldn’t have ended!

If only I hadn’t read this book so fast!!

If only A.J. Pine had more books so I could at least feel like I wasn’t missing something!

Ohhh… I want to say so much about this book! There’s so much to this story and so much happens from the 3/4 point on! I will make sure to not add in spoilers but damn! It’s going to be tough to review this one. Seriously!

Wow. I’m actually kind of speechless.

Maybe not… Ok, first let’s talk characters. LOVE them! I love them. I cannot get enough. I want so much more about each of the characters. Not only the lead characters but the side characters too. I’m in love with Sam even though she isn’t really even IN the book! She’s a best friend that is across the ocean and even though she’s in very little of this she makes such a huge presence!

The men… There are some great guys in this. Like Jordan I was curious if the guys she meets are players. I was left thinking yes to certain guys (I cannot name them!!! IT’s killing me!) and then I would swing back the other way and like a guy and then swing back. Yes I feel like a pendulum but I really wasn’t sure who I wanted Jordan to be with the most! Griffin and Noah both seem so fabulous and then they both seem like such jerks. It was like torture! By the end I knew who I liked but I want more from the other guy too… I really don’t want his story to end!

And then there is Jordan. She’s not your normal “Oh my I’m a damsel in distress and I am looking for a big, strong man to help me with my virginity” and thank goodness for that! But what she is is a confused gal that is trying to find her way in this world. Like most of us! I loved her story even though she has to go through a bit of crap to figure things out. Half the book she’s crying and I’m crying with her.

And then the quotes… I love when authors quote other books and movies, but especially books and movies that I love and A.J. Pine freaking NAILED this! Every reference I clung even closer to the story so by the end it’s amazing that I can even let go.

Well… I haven’t yet. I think I’m in denial about that letting go bit. I need more A.J.


Guest PostSOOO excited to have A.J. Pine here. I am in love, love, LOVE with this book. Seriously! So… without further ado… A.J. is here to tell us about how she got into my new favorite genre, NA!

Hi Christina! So excited to be celebrating IF ONLY’s release at Creating Serenity! Thank you so much for having me!

So, I love when I get a chance to talk about how I came to write New Adult. In my daytime life, I’m a high school English teacher, and I also just completed my MLIS, a master’s in library and information science, which means I’m also certified as a school librarian. Put all of this lovely information together and you get someone who loves, loves, LOVES young adult literature. Before I wrote books, I wrote about YA literature on a little YA book blog, and before I wrote NA, I wrote a YA dystopian novel. So why the switch?

One of my writing partners (and good friend) pointed me in the direction of New Adult way back when neither of us had books coming out and we had all the time in the world to read (something I desperately want more of right now). We drafted our first novels together, and we also liked reading the same books at the same time so we could discuss as we went along, and I found the more I read NA and talked about it, the more I felt I related to it. Not that I’m a new adult anymore, but I think that’s a time in our lives we never forget. New adults are past that initial search for autonomy that we see in YA literature. There’s no longer the need to separate one’s identity from that of the parents because as a New Adult, there is a physical separation from constant parental authority, thereby creating a clearer distinction between parent and offspring. Granted, in college, there is still a parental connection because most likely your parents are footing the bill, and they still have expectations for you, but that separation allows a freedom that isn’t there in YA. Even if parents don’t play a big role in a Young Adult novel, the adult authority figure still shows up or lurks in the background.

I’ve mentioned this before, and I like to reiterate it because it’s one of the best definitions of NA I’ve heard. A while back on the NA Alley hosted #NALitChat on twitter, a chat moderator said, “If YA and NA characters are both walking a tightrope, NA is without the net.” I love this idea of the New Adult figuring life out without a safety net. It means taking responsibility for mistakes, dealing with setbacks on your own, and making possible life-altering decisions for one of the first times. I don’t see NA as sexed up YA. I do think NA characters have more sex than YA characters simply because they are older and more experienced, but it doesn’t mean that NA is synonymous with ALL OF THE SEX. Haha. Because NA characters are more mature than YA characters, they deal with more mature situations, but that doesn’t make NA and YA such different animals. It just means the characters are in a different phase of life in each.

I still adore YA, still read it, and I do hope to write more of it someday. But for now my heart is with New Adult, with seeing how my characters can cope and make their way to a happily ever after without a net.


the author

AJ writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend those hearts with a happily ever after…maybe. The first book she wrote was YA, but now she’s two-timing her first love Pine4BWwith NA. She’s always in the middle of reading two to three books, adores online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes), and she still loves vampires, whether it’s Eric Northman or the Salvatore brothers. When she’s not writing, AJ is sneaking off to her day job as a high school English teacher or hanging with her husband and kids in the Chicago burbs.
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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