Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Mini-reviews: Lila Shortcuts by Sarah Alderson & While You're Away by Jessa Holbrook

Lila Shortcuts by Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date: 1st October 2013
My rating: 4 stars

Five compelling new short stories based in the world of HUNTING LILA. Told from the perspectives of Alex, Jack, Demos, Amber and Suki - fans of this thrilling series now have a chance to delve into the minds of other characters, and see what they really think!

Sarah Alderson is the master at bringing great characters to life, in the last two years I have become quite easily attached to the characters in Alderson’s Lila series, that I could possibly read stories with them again and again. Lila Shortcuts presents five novellas from five great characters from the Lila series; Amber, Demos, Suki, Jack and Alex.

The best thing about these novellas is that they fit in so well together, Alderson just doesn’t give you five different perspectives, but one story flows into the next by the order in which the events occurred. With these novellas we're given great back stories into our favourite characters, we get fresh new scenes that we've previously only be told about, but also scenes which we've already read about before but from the perspective of a totally different character like when Lila tumbled down the stairs, but from Alex’s perspective *sigh*.

If I had a chance to choose a favourite of these stories, I don’t think I’d be able to as each on their own brought so much. But here are couple of my favourite aspects;

Demos. You finally get to be inside this enigmatic characters head and let me just say I was expecting a lot of ego and cockiness, but instead we got an honest and vulnerable side of him and a lot of insight into why he became the man he is today. Such great brotherly love and affection between Jack and Alex, the depths to which these two went to help each other out was amazing. I loved being inside Jack’s head, he was an intelligent guy. But I loved seeing his ruthless side and his snarky sense of humour, but also seeing him stutter around “boyfriends”/guys interested in Lila. Alex there’s nothing about him that could make me love him more, his perspective was just perfect, I just wish I had more to read. I’m going to leave you with this quote.

"And then she looks up at me and holds my gaze and she smiles a smile so full of undisguised happiness that her whole face lights up with it and it makes me catch my breath. And that's when I know for sure that I'm in trouble"

Overall Lila Shortcuts is not a book to be missed out on, it will have you laughing out loud when you least expect to one minute and then rip away at your heart the next. But one thing, it will make you want to never let these characters go.

While You're Away (While You're Away #1) by Jessa Holbrook
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication date: 15th October 2013
My rating: 3 stars

Once a cheater, always a cheater? From the moment Will and Sarah first set eyes upon each other, they know that what they have is special. There's just one little problem . . . each of them already has a significant other. After flirting with danger, it becomes clear their passion is too strong to be denied. But even if they make their relationship official, there are plenty of challenges in store. Will leaves for college at the end of the summer, while Sarah faces her senior year of high school in their small suburban town. Long-distance relationships always come with their fair share of troubles—mismatched schedules, jealousy, and temptation are only the beginning. Can cheaters ever change? WHILE YOU'RE AWAY is a steamy story about a love triangle, a long-distance relationship, and learning the true meaning of commitment.

While You’re Away was a lot different to what I had been expecting after reading the blurb. This in case wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it kind of left me wanting for more time between our main characters Will and Sarah. The way the relationship in the blurb is described is as forbidden, and I guess it was, both Will and Sarah are in relationships with other people, Sarah loves her boyfriend Dave, so her kiss with Will is so out of the blue, but it leaves her thinking that what she has with Dave isn’t as perfect as she imagined it to be.

Now I don’t condone cheating, but I actually wanted Sarah and Will to be together. Dave may have been a sweet guy, but which guy blatantly lets girls flirt with him when he’s girlfriend’s standing by? And then flirts back, and this isn’t even on one occasion, it happens every time after Sarah and Dave do a performance (they both play guitar). Sarah has even voiced that she doesn’t feel comfortable with this, but does Dave take any notice? No. And then there’s Will, he has the reputation that seems to follow him around, but when Sarah ends up spending time with him when Dave’s pre-occupied, she sees a side to him that no one’s ever mentioned before. Is this because of her? Or just put on every time Will’s with a girl?

While You’re Away was a pretty quick read that you could probably fit in when you’re in the mood for a book that’s sexy and fun. My only gripe was that I wish more time had been focused upon Will and Sarah spending time with each other. I will definitely be picking up While You’re Away 2, to see how this story continues.


  1. While You're Away doesn't sound like my kind of book, but I'm so glad you enjoyed Lila Shortcuts! I can't wait to grab a copy myself. Wonderful mini-reviews, Jasprit!(:

  2. Lila Shortcuts sounds very good! I don't usually read novellas/short stories, but I absolutely love that you connected with the characters and that the stories flowed together. While You're Away would be a toughie for me to like. Like you, I don't condone cheating and I would probably be glaring at them the whole time and be conflicted because I would want them together as well. Lovely reviews!

  3. I don't think While You're Away is for me because cheating books...they're kind of just the kiss of death for me, you know? Lila Shortcuts, however, sounds really engaging! The fact that you enjoyed it means it just found a place on my TBR :)

  4. I like novellas that are part of a larger story. Of course, I haven't yet read this larger story but I'll have to keep the novellas in mind. Not sure about While You're Away, though. I think I'd get annoyed with the cheating/flirting bit. But maybe not!

  5. I'm happy to hear that the Lila novellas worked for you. Unfortunately, I still haven't read the second book. I'm mostly intrigued about Demos' story though. It sounds like it would be an interesting one. Also, I like how the novellas actually have a flow to them.

    I was never sure about While You Were Away and I think your review has solidified that. I have something against cheating like so many readers, so I don't think I would enjoy this one.

    Thanks for the lovely reviews, Jasprit.

  6. MUST READ THIS JASPRIT! I love, love, loved the first book and can't wait to finally find some time to read book two. I think I'll just read this one immediately after and go on a Sarah Alderson reading binge. YES! I love that we get some different POVs in the shortcuts, I'm of course ridiculously interested in Alex's:) And of course Demos, I love that he wasn't what you expected going in!

    1. YES a Sarah Alderson reading binge sounds perfect Jenny. Demos and Alex will definitely take you by surprise! :)

  7. Ohh, great reviews :D Lila Shortcuts sounds awesome. I still need to read my copies of Hunting Lila and Losing Lila though.. but I'm going to soon, because I hope they will be amazing :) Anyway. Thank you for sharing. <3 :)

  8. Both of these sound really good. I have the first book in the Lila series and have been meaning to read it forever, I love that it branches out with this and you get to be many different characters. I don't think I would like Dave very much in the second book.

  9. I still haven't read Hunting Lila. I've been planing to like for months, but you know review books come first. I'm so happy you loved this short story and it sounds really interesting.
    I haven't heard of this second one but there is simply too many love interests there for me to enjoy it. I like it simple.
    Great reviews Jasprit :)

  10. I know how much you love Sarah's writing and I've been planning on starting this series thanks to all your fangirling ;) Demos--I want to meet him. He sounds like a wonderful, wicked character :)

    I'm not a person to love cheating stories either. However, I'd be team Will, too, so don't be even the tiniest bit upset that you're 100% team Will. I think that not every relationship is supposed to work and not every couple suits together so perhaps Will and Sarah do suit more than Dave and Sarah (obviously..). However, cheating is never the option. I'm glad you enjoyed both of these pretties :)

  11. I think Lila's shortcuts sounds great. I love that you got that much emotion out of a novella. Not sure about the second, I have seen it around but the whole cheating thing makes me hesitate.

  12. That's fantastic that the novellas blended together and all the characters were wonderful. Love the Alex quote! There is nothing like finding characters that you cannot receive enough of.

    While You're Away sounds like a sweet novel. Ugh, to flirty boyfriends.

    Spectacular reviews! <3

  13. That Lila book has one interesting cover! I wasn't a fan of The Sound however I think I am up to trying this series out.

    Lovely reviews, luv! <33

  14. Ohhh Jasprit, how did you even get through While You're Away? Cheating is one of those things I can't handle reading about. Well done, you!

  15. So good to know that you loved Lila Shortcuts - I was wondering when you'd review the book since I saw your interview with Demos. While You're Away seems different from the contemporary that I usually dabble but it sounds interesting. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  16. I had no clue that the Lila novellas tied into each other so neatly. I think it's a wonderful idea to make one such book easily readable. I'm not a fan of novellas, but this is a whole different thing. I can't wait to get to know Demos just bit better, and Alex's perspective... I don't think I need to tell you how happy I am about that. :)
    Thanks for the lovely review.

  17. Sexy and fun sounds great. Isn't it so hard when you find yourself cheering for the cheat>

  18. I agree, Sarah Alderson is great! I *think* I've read Alex and Suki's stories, if they're ones that have been published before. I haven't read Demos, Jack or Amber's sides, so those interest me. I'm looking forward to Alex/Lila sexytimes for sure! Yum.

    I have a big trouble with cheating, and when I can't fully focus on the right couple, so I'm not sure how I'll take this other book. It will probably be a skip for me. But thanks for telling me about it!


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