Size Doesn’t Matter (113): We Own the Night; Under Rose-Tainted Skies

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

Size Doesn’t Matter (113): We Own the Night; Under Rose-Tainted SkiesWe Own the Night by Ashley Poston
Series: Radio Hearts #2
Published by Bloomsbury Spark on June 28, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

"Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls..."

As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay "Niteowl" by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock 'n roll and a hard place. She can't wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can't abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer's, or her best friend Micah--who she may or may not be in love with.

But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn't timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She's the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy's manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular-- Dark and Brooding--whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she's in love with Micah or anything. Cause she's not.

As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.

And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.

Not having been much impressed with the first Radio Hearts book, The Sound of Us, I wasn’t that excited to read We Own the Night, but I’d requested the egalley so I was determined to give it a fair shot. Thankfully, this one had less mistakes and a much better ship.

Thankfully, We Own the Night is very much a companion and not a direct sequel to The Sound of Us. Set in Nebraska, We Own the Night is the story of Ingrid North, who secretly DJs as Niteowl. She’s also secretly in love with her best friend Micah, which is unfortunate because he’s falling for Heather, one of the many people in town who’s bullied her for being fat.

The radio deejay stuff is fun. The cuts from her shows are cute, and I enjoy the banter she has with “Dark and Brooding.” The banter in general is much better than in The Sound of Us, and there are a bunch of fun pop culture references. However, it’s weird that this is set at the same time as The Sound of Us, even though it came out so much later and has recent pop culture references. I mostly really liked Ingrid’s voice, though her constant use of “bless” as a swear was obnoxious.

Billie’s a super sweet love interest (even if the spelling of his name annoys the shit out of me), and I was very into them getting together. I do think, though, that like the first, We Own the Night, while technically a new adult will satisfy YA fans rather than NA fans. There’s no sex in this, and there’s barely even any kissing. I was invested in Billie and Ingrid, though, despite the fact that she should have figured everything out waaaaaay earlier (aka before she was straight up told).

On top of that, I liked the resolution of the drama with Micah and the stuff with her grandmother. The cameo by tie-in character Jason Dallas was surprisingly cute, and I wouldn’t mind a book about him. Her best friend LJ was awesome too, and she didn’t get totally shafted plot-wise as happens to some lesbian besties.

Much better than its predecessor, I enjoyed We Own the Night. It’s still not quite there and would have benefited from some stronger editing. I’m now more confident in Ash Poston’s forthcoming Geekerella.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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

Size Doesn’t Matter (113): We Own the Night; Under Rose-Tainted SkiesUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Published by Clarion on January 3, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can’t step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He’s sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did.

Norah can’t leave the house, but can she let someone in? As their friendship grows deeper, Norah realizes Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can lie on the front lawn and look up at the stars. One who isn’t so screwed up.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies falls into the category of books I find most difficult to rate. It made me feel most assuredly, which would generally indicate a new favorite, but what it made me feel was uncomfortable. Not in the way of a movie full of embarrassment or gross out humor, but bone-deep nervousness and frustration at an inability to help. Reading Under Rose-Tainted Skies wasn’t something I can really say I enjoyed, but I also think it was good and that the discomfort it caused was intentional. Because I rate everything and not rating it would bother me, I threw a rating on there, but don’t pay too much attention to it.

Norah has barely left her house in four years, ever since her first panic attack. Since then, she’s been agoraphobic, despite the fact that nothing major precipitated the attack. She also has OCD and anxiety to the degree that she sometimes unconsciously and sometimes consciously will hurt herself physically in small ways. The fact that the book makes me feel some amount of Norah’s daily discomfort is, I think, a testament to Gornall doing something very right, but it is very unsettling.

As happens in the YA version of this story, a hot boy moves in next door, and they get their meetcute when Norah’s trying to get her groceries off the porch with a broom because she can’t go out to get them. Luke’s a really sweet guy, and he tries really hard consistently with Norah. If anything in the book felt off, I’d say that he ventures on unbelievably good and understanding and kind. They do have a nice back and forth at times, but I didn’t get particularly invested in the romance when I was so tense about Norah’s mental health and safety, but he didn’t fix her either, so that’s good. I actually appreciated more her relationship with her mother in the scenes when they really got to hang out.

Read Under Rose-Tainted Skies for the mental health aspects. If you’re more interested in the romance aspects, I’d recommend going with Love and Other Alien Experiences or Everything, Everything. The former also deals with agoraphobia and anxiety, and the latter deals with physical health.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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