Thursday, September 26, 2013

HOW TO DATE A NERD by Cassie Mae & THE FUNERAL SINGER by Linda Budzinski

Zoe has a great pair of legs, perky boobs, and wears exactly what she needs to show it all off. She works hard for the easy sleazy ‘you only wish you were me’ reputation, burying who she really is—an all-out nerd.

The only time Zoe gets to be herself is when she hides under her comforter to read X-Men comics, sending jealousy stabs at everyone who attends Comic-Con. Keeping up her popular rep is too important, and she’s so damn insecure to care about the consequences. But when Zoe’s sister takes her car for a ‘crash and burn into a tree’ joyride, her parents get her a replacement. A manual. Something she doesn’t know how to operate, but her next door neighbor Zak sure as heck does.

Zak’s a geek to the core, shunned by everyone in school for playing Dungeons and Dragons at lunch and wearing “Use the Force” t-shirts. And Zoe’s got it bad for the boy. Only Zak doesn’t want Popular Zoe. He wants Geek Zoe.

She has to shove her insecurities and the fear of dropping a few rungs on the social ladder aside to prove to Zak who she really is and who she wants to be… if she can figure it out herself.

First of all, I just want to eat that cover. Something about the green and pink ... yummy! 

In a word, this book is CUTE! The dialogue, the awkward moments, the sweet, blushing romance, the nerd references, and Zak (woohoo!) all combine to produce one super cute book. 

Zoe is a difficult character to like in the beginning, what with all her Popular Zoe meanness, but the author somehow pulls it off by showing us the real Zoe inside. We've all been there, haven't we? We want to be liked. Maybe envied. And who would find it easy to give that up once they have it? Zak is the opposite. Secure in himself. He likes and does things that make him a nerd, but so what? That's who he is. A sweet, adorable, super sexy nerd boy!

Zoe and Zak have some history. Zak knows exactly who Zoe is deep, deep (possibly very deep!) down inside. The question is whether Zoe can be brave enough to let everyone else know the real Zoe.

Beneath the giggle-yourself-silly humour are some important and worthwhile messages. Messages about accepting yourself (Zoe, I'm talking to you!). Messages about forgiveness (man, Zak gets hurt over and over again, and over and over again he gives Zoe the forgiveness she doesn't think she deserves). This is a story that just about everyone can relate to.


So Cassie, the fabulous author of this book, wants to know what's nerdy about each of us.

Here are some of my nerdy attributes:
  • At primary school I sometimes chose to sit alone at break and read my book instead of sitting with my friends.
  • I've played the flute since high school. I even went to orchestra camp. (Yip. Orchestra camp)
  • My husband's been re-watching old, badly made Star Trek episodes recently, and after a number of episodes, I actually found myself *gulp* sort of ... enjoying them!
  • Superheroes rock.
  • Reading a book is better than going out on a Friday night. Or any night!
  • (PS - I adore Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, but those are so universally loved by nerds and non-nerds alike, I don't think they qualify as nerd-makers!)

Visit Cassie's blog to find out the nerdiest thing about her!

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Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs while singing part-time at her dad's funeral home. She's determined to be more than a funeral singer, more than just someone's "beloved wife" or "loving mother."

When Mel's impromptu rendition of "Amazing Grace" at a local rock star's graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she becomes an Internet sensation, gains thousands of fans and followers, and snags a hot rock star boyfriend--Zed Logan, bass player for The Grime.

But instant fame isn’t easy—and neither is love. Especially when Mel realizes she’s falling for another guy—one who may just want her heart more than her voice …

I LOVE the premise on which this book is based. I love the song lyrics mentioned. I loved imagining Mel's voice soaring above silent crowds. I appreciated the message behind her story about the consequences of sudden fame and what it can do not only to that person, but the people in his/her life. And yet ... I felt like this story needed ... MORE.

I felt that more could have been done with the plot, and DEFINITELY with the relationship between Mel and the guy she ended up falling for. I found their attraction to one another to be not entirely ... believable. I wanted more interaction between the two of them. I wanted to see a connection. I couldn't quite understand what drew her to him, and, even more so, what drew him to her. Maybe I missed something. Maybe it's just that my personal taste veers more toward character interaction than, perhaps, other readers' or writers' tastes. I just wanted MORE there!

All that being said, this was still an enjoyable and thought-provoking novel that managed to keep me turning the pages :-)

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Thanks to Swoon Romance for sending me copies of these books to review!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Superheroes do rock! And orchestra camp is no nerdier than band camp. Is it?

Crystal Collier said...

What orchestra camp and band camp are nerdy? *pushing taped glasses up the nose bridge*

Great reviews, Rachel. I love learning about your nerdiness. ;)

Cassie Mae said...

Oh my gosh, orchestra camp! I went to one too! I was a viola player though... and our school was like strings vs wind instruments, lol! But there was this super adorable cute guy who played the trumpet. Gah, I was willing to go behind enemy lines and snag him up! LOL.

Thank you for the awesome review Rachel!!!


My wife played the flute. She still has a glass flute. Don't worry about enjoying Star Trek. It will just allow you the privilege of spending time with your hubby.

Chrys Fey said...

I agree that reading a book is better than going out on a Friday night. Tomorrow I will be staying in to read. Book nerds are the best! lol

My nerdiness is on my blog for all to see if you'd like to drop by. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I used to play the flute in the school band. I like book nerds (I am one of them).

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Read Cassie's nerd post if you doubt the nerd power of HP. Superheroes do rock and I'd rather read an awesome book at home than party so we can be sisters in nerd-dom. Cassie's book looks amazing and glad you have such positive things to say Rachel.

Gwen Gardner said...

I used to read after school when the rest of the kids were playing in the street. Congrats to Cassie :)