Reviewing and Reading books that were free or are free. You see, I finally caved and bought an eReader. Now I find I can't stop reading all the free books offered on the online market. Despite whether or not the book is a good read or not. In this blog I will weed through all books, whether it was amazing or a grammatically sad excuse for a book, because the point in the end is . . . HEY, IT WAS FREE!
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Hey, It's A Review Blitz for "Back of Beyond" by Neeny Boucher
by Neeny Boucher
Book 1, in the Complicated Love Series "Back of Beyond" Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Humor, Romance. 316 pages.
Dina Martin and Nicholas Riley are total opposites. She’s the good girl with the perfect
grades and he’s the bad boy with the reputation. Growing up together with close family
ties, they have been at war for as long as they can remember. When the unthinkable
happens, neither of them wants it.
Set in a small town at the turn of the millennium, this story is about family and
friendship, the love of music and how sometimes who you don’t want, is exactly who
This was probably one of the strangest most entertaining yet insightful reads this year. The story is told in third person alternating dual narrative, which threw at first but after the first few chapters I quickly fell into the story and characters. The novel is young adult, but is filled with many issues such as self insecurities, family and social problems in a fun, and at times, very deep ways.
In this little town of Shanwicks the back of beyond place in nowheres land a place where people think highly of everyone's opinion of each other. So when Christina 'Dina' Martin is taunted and teased mercilessly by the "Anys" aka the it or cool girls in school, Dina's best friends Mandy and Bonnie decide the time is now to hatch a plan. Their trios mission is to become just cool enough to be above the Anys but not too bad; The problem is Dina needs to get into her brother's band and one member really hates her. Nicholas Riley is part of the Outcast Crew, though he comes from old money, Riley likes to be on the outside. Not one for rules or much of anything, Riley is the bad boy of the town who isn't to be messed with. Which is why he and Dina clash, she is Perfect and he's everything but. So when Dina sings and Riley realizes she is so much more than meets the eye, things for them just get a whole lot more complicated. Especially with his troubled past and her families expectations.
Overall, loved this book. I'm Fully surprised by how much depth there was sprinkled into moments here in and there. Dina is not your typical female lead, she never wanted the guy or anyone for that matter yet found herself falling for someone she should resent. Riley is the bad boy turned good, but was secretly always the good boy who just became bad because that's what people labeled him. The subject of bullying in this book tackles many aspects of the issue but one was highlighted pertaining to Dina being slut shamed, the way Dina talked it through was brilliant and had me bring it up as conversation amongst my friends. Oh and I loved how fierce Dina's friends were when it came to anything, I'm a huge fan of best friend power in literature, Mandy and Bonnie are amazing support even if only there to gossip with sometimes. Actually, the whole Martin family was supportive and a great cast of characters, who reminded me of my family, minus the parent with the accent. Now the only thing I had an issue with was there was a moment of assault, that should have been dealt with more in a legal way or at least with parents. Anytime a woman is assaulted it needs to be dealt with not hidden. Apart from that the only other issue I could see is if readers do not get comfortable with the narrative form and switching perspectives. So if you are looking for a story about a town bad boy falling for schools quirky but new hot singer while everyone and everything comes between them, then you'll enjoy this book.
Dina Martin’s heart sinks. Nicholas Riley’s
unnerving green cat eyes measure her and find her wanting. Pretentiously called by his last name, Riley
lounges on the door of her family garage with one leg up behind him. Dressed for the river with a towel
wrapped around his neck, his long dark hair is tied up on his head.
Avoidance competes with irritation. “I live
here,” Dina sighs. “What are you doing here?”
Peeling his lanky frame off the garage, Riley
stands in front of her. “Waiting for Johnny, your cool brother. You didn’t think we were here
His words leech confidence, but Dina’s mind
focuses on the plural. Cars are parked on the side of the road, filled with the beautiful people from high
school. She shrinks.
Lighting a cigarette, Riley blows smoke at her
through his pouty, sullen lips.
“Um, health,” Dina snaps. She waves a hand,
but the smoke keeps billowing. “You look like a blowfish.”
Riley laughs, a real one. Her internal alarm
rings. Narrowing his eyes, he jabs a finger. “There’s something different about
Dina does a quick tally. She’s gotten taller and
is nearly fifteen. Her opinion of Riley is low, but he isn’t stupid, and his powers of observation are acute,
albeit cruel. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Riley grins. He points at her chest. “It
looks like your boobies finally came in.”
Heat bursts on Dina’s face and her palms go
sweaty. Puberty was monstrous. One moment she was as flat as a board and the next, “C” cups
sprouted like giant fungi. She cried and tried binding them in the hope they’d go away, but Mom made
Dina’s mind shies away from the next scarring
encounter. The one where she was marched shame faced and head down to be poked and prodded by
old ladies. When she returned home with bras, no one was allowed to mention
Defensively folding her arms across her chest
draws a derisive snort from Riley. Tears start at the corners of Dina’s eyes, but she blinks them away.
“Snitched on anyone lately?”
Mirth is in Riley’s eyes. His mouth quirks up at
the corners. “Are you still pissed about this summer? I saved your life.” He winks, tapping her on the
arm. “You can thank me later.”
Dina’s hand tingles as Riley bats his eyes at her.
“Pissed? I’m not sure that fully encompasses the depth of my annoyance and your
“Oh,” Riley mocks. “You’re a little
grudge holder, aren’t you? Was it the grounding?”
Very bad words are on the tip of Dina’s tongue, but she swallows the
obscenities. Her father is strict on matters of propriety and she is in enough trouble as it is. “Ironic, isn’t
it? You, the juvenile delinquent. The worst behaved person I know, snitched on us. Shouldn’t you be
getting ready for juvie right now? Does it have semesters, or does it go all year
Riley’s eyes narrow. He bites his bottom lip. “I
didn’t get you grounded for the other stuff. Who are you going to blame for
Dina’s head rocks up and their eyes lock. Her
heart beats a steady drum against her ribcage. The urge to somehow hurt him dances in her
“Back off my sister, Riley,” Johnny warns,
hitting Riley on the arm. Lithe, unruly, black hair with a Celtic cross tattoo that got him grounded, her big
brother is one of her favorite people in the world. He’s also Riley’s best
“And, you.” Johnny grins, wagging a finger at
Dina. “Stop picking fights.”
He charges down the driveway, but Riley
loiters, walking backward. His cat eyes glitter and he drops his index fingers. “See ya. Wouldn’t want to
Dina glares. His words hurt. She doesn’t want
to be her either.
Neeny Boucher is a nom de plume because my real name sounds like a 19th Century
suffragette. Originally from New Zealand, I’m a long-time supporter of the All Blacks.
Currently, I live in Europe and am trailing spouse, following my husband all over the
world for his work. This not only gives me the opportunity to write, but also, experience
the world and indulge in one of my favorite past-times: people watching.
My own employment history is varied and ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. All
of those experiences and encounters, however, have allowed me to collect amazing
stories, which now form the basis of my writings.
I have always loved the weird, the outcast and those on the margins of society because
they see the world in a different way. These are the people my characters are based
I have a BA, BA Honors, and a PhD in Sociology/Indigenous Studies.
The Complicated Love Series, books one to three: Back of Beyond, Lost in Flight, and
Ties That Bind.