Review of Approximately Yours

 

Approximately Yours

Julie Hammerle

Entangled Teen

October 2, 2017


Blurb: Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And her family is only back in North Pole, Minnesota, long enough to sell Grandma’s house and say “Merry Christmas.” So telling her basketball-star, too-hot-to-be-real long-time crush that she’d like to kiss him under the mistletoe just isn’t going to happen.

And now he’s asked out her cousin, Elda. Elda is a mess at flirting, so when she begs Holly to intervene, she does. Holly helps her flirt with him over text. And then again. And again. Now she’s stuck texting him as her cousin, and Elda is the one going on the date. Holly thought she could settle for just conversation with Danny, but talking with him is some kind of magic. He’s got the perfect comebacks, she makes him laugh, they text until everyone is asleep.

She just can’t ever tell him it’s her he’s really texting.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book has hot texts, gingerbread wars, and a slow-burn romance that could melt a Minnesota winter.

Books in the North Pole, Minnesota series
Any Boy but You
Artificial Sweethearts
Approximately Yours


SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW

The latest entry in Julie Hammerle’s North Pole, Minnesota series feels like Cyrano de Bergerac for Christmas with teens and texting.

Holly used to visit her grandmother in North Pole every Christmas except for the past several years. She would always enter the gingerbread house-building contest with her grandmother, but would mostly be beaten by cute Danny, which she didn’t mind so much because she had a crush on him. The crush that Holly had on Danny stayed with her a long time. Unfortunately she’s had bad experiences in the intervening years. When she and her cousin, Elda, stop for coffee and Holly sees Danny for the first time in years, he doesn’t recognize her and seems more interested in Elda. As a result, Holly tries to get Danny and Elda to fall in love figuring that they are perfect together.

This is a cute story and a cute idea for a story incorporating all of the Christmas elements: gingerbread and hot chocolate and warm toasty fires. Unfortunately  Approximately Yours didn’t work for me as well as the previous two entries in the series.

A little more than midway through two thoughts occurred to me. Holly and Danny were apart for most of the novel so it was really hard to just accept that they were a thing. When they finally do come together, it all feels rushed and a little unsatisfying because I didn’t feel like there was a spark between Holly and Danny and I don’t know if that was because they were ultimately too similar. As well, it was hard to believe Danny was falling for anyone considering that just a few days had passed since he found out about his long-time girlfriend cheating on him and their subsequent breakup.

Also, I found Elda a more intriguing character than Holly and would have loved for the subplot with Elda and Dinesh to be fleshed out more. Probably, it would have helped overall if this novel had just been longer to show more interaction between Holly and Danny and some fun between nerds Elda and Dinesh.

However, this novel is sweet and I think for anyone following the series, you don’t want to miss this latest installment, not to mention  it’s arrival is just in time for pre-Christmas reading.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


rating: 3-and-half

3 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies


 

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Review of Artificial Sweethearts

 

Artificial Sweethearts

by Julie Hammerle

July 10, 2017

Entangled Crush


Blurb from Goodreads: It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to fake date. With her parents trying to set her up with an annoying student golf coach, and intentionally single Sam’s family pressuring him to bring a date to his brother’s wedding, they could both use a drama-free summer.

So it’s not his muscular arms and quick wit that makes Tinka suggest they tell everyone they’re both taken. Definitely not. And it’s not butterflies that makes a kiss for appearances during the lake party go on way too long—so long that Sam wishes it were real.

Continue reading

Guest Post by Author Julie Hammerle!

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Welcome, Julie Hammerle!

Julie Hammerle is the author of  The Sound of Us, which I reviewed in June of last year.  On February 13, her new novel, Any Boy But You, (reviewed yesterday) is being published and it’s part of a series, North Pole, Minnesota.


Book One vs. Book Two

The timeline for how long it took me to write and then publish my first novel, The Sound of Us, revolves around my niece.

I first had the idea for the book (which ended up being WAAAAY different than the finished product) right around the time when she was born.

I pantsed that sucker during the first month of her life. I bought one of those “Write a Novel in 30 Days” type books and never looked back. Or forward. I just wrote words. Lots and lots of words. Garbage words, most of them.

Over the next, oh, four years I entered a cycle of revise, query, repeat. I wrote other things during this time (important!), but I always went back to The Sound of Us (which was not called The Sound of Us at the time).

Finally! Finally! After years of trying to find an agent, I connected with Beth Phelan of The Bent Agency, who saw good things in my manuscript.

Aaaaannnnddd…I spent the next six months revising the story with her before going out on submission. Then we revised again. And went on submission again.

After over a year of that, Kate Brauning of Entangled Publishing bought the book. And we spent the next year+ revising, revising, revising.

The total time from inception to publication? Nearly seven years. That newborn baby was about to start first grade when The Sound of Us hit the shelves.

But that’s the luxury of a first book—time!

Writing my second book, Any Boy but You, was, oh, just a tad different.

Kate and I wanted to work together again. (She’s an amazing editor, if you ever get the chance.) Beth pitched her a few things, and we settled on this romance series set in a Christmas-themed town in Minnesota. Three books, one year.

I had already written drafts for two of the books. (Because I wasn’t solely working on The Sound of Us during those seven years.) However, Kate decided that we should use those books as #2 and #3 in the series, and, hey, could I write something from scratch for book #1? And could I have a polished draft finished in two months?

!!!

I said yes, of course, because I’m a professional, but privately I was eating a lot of chocolate during this time. I wrote out a very detailed outline, which Kate and I went back and forth on several times, and then I wrote it and revised it and did copyedits and the whole shebang.

From inception to publication on this book? About eight months.

What did I learn? 1) Writing isn’t precious. It’s messy. It’s mechanical. It’s a job like anything else, one where you need to do the work because no one else is going to do it for you. 2) Always keep writing, because you never know when an editor’s going to ask to see what else you have. 3) Lindor chocolate truffles are my world.


 

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Julie Hammerle is the author of THE SOUND OF US (Entangled TEEN, 2016). Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her music playlist reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.

TWITTER  /  FACEBOOK  /  INSTAGRAM  /  WEBSITE

 

Review of Any Boy But You

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Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle

Entangled Crush

February 13, 2017


Blurb from GoodreadsElena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.


One of my favorite YA novels from last year was Julie Hammerle’s The Sound of Us; you can read that review here. What made that novel stand out so much to me, besides its theme, was the characters. They were uniquely drawn and not falling into stereotypes. The same holds true for Any Boy But You.

Oliver is attached, almost literally, to his computer. He can develop a game or play games and not be under pressure to be popular like his sister. If he doesn’t put himself out there, he doesn’t risk getting rejected. Elena, on the other hand, wants to be out with her friends, but she’s stuck minding her parents’ sporting goods store while they’re off doing who knows what (seriously, what are these people doing that their teenage daughter is responsible all the time for the shop? Both sets of parents sound way more immature than their kids, but then I’ve seen that in real life when people get caught up in grudges, etc.).

If you’ve seen You’ve Got Mail with its battle between the super-sized, money-backed bookstore versus the indie children’s bookshop, then you have a taste of the ideology driving the Prince’s and the Chestnutt’s feud, as Elena and her family have remained in North Pole, MN while Oliver and his family have transplanted from Florida in order to run the shop after the passing of Oliver’s grandfather. Add in the anonymous messaging, which allows Elena and Oliver to get to know each other and you have a wonderful homage to the movie.

Taking a cue from this summer’s Pokémon Go phenomenon, Oliver develops an app for a treasure hunt game that involves finding stashes and answering trivia questions regarding one of North Pole’s famous hockey playing citizens.

The ending has a grand gesture and I am always a huge fan of those!

As you can see, there is a lot to enjoy and love about this novel. And, at its heart, is the question of feuds and grudges and knowing when to make amends and letting go of things you can’t control, of deciding what’s important and putting yourself out there and taking risks.

Immediately before I began writing this review I discovered that Any Boy But You is part of a series taking place in North Pole. Yippee! Very excited about future installments!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


rating: 5-butterflies (5 out of 5 butterflies)