Thursday, July 16, 2015

REVIEW: With A Twist by Staci Hart


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SynopsisLove is somewhere near the bottom of Lily Thomas’ list of life goals, right next to competitive eating and underwater cave diving. She’s spent six years pirouetting and pliéing her way up the ranks of the New York Ballet with her eye on the prize and love in the back seat. But now that Blane Baker -- Lily’s long time crush -- is finally single, she’ll throw her rules out the window without thinking twice.

Reality with Blane isn’t as epic as the fantasy she imagined, and the truth sends her spinning straight into the arms of the man she never knew she’d always wanted.

West Williams has been friends with Lily since the day she moved into their building and he saved her armoire from a swift, sudden death by staircase. Their friendship has always been easy, the boundaries clearly defined. With neither of them willing to risk their relationship, they’ve drifted happily through the years as companions, never considering more.

That is, until they do. And that realization changes everything.

Teaser 2
Shel: The very first series I read of Staci Hart's books was the serial Hardcore and I loved that she plunged me in a world that I knew absolutely nothing about: parkour. That series had female aggressors, cliffhangers to die for (until the end--and then it was finished very satisfactorily), F/F and M/F lovin', and was very fast paced. All of that to say that I knew I liked what I'd read of Staci Hart's prior work and I was eager to see what this new series would be like. Court: I have to say I was a nervous wreck when I started this one, because of how fast paced and intense the novella series was. I was nervous for a long time...but of course it wasn't long until I was sucked in and in love with this hilarious group of friends.

Shel: With A Twist is the softer, sweeter, funnier version of Staci Hart--errr--her characters and she once again popped my cherry--this time with West, a man-bun anti-hipster/hipster English Lit TA. MY FIRST MAN BUN CHARACTER!!! He was charming and sweet, though bold when he needed to be, and funny. Oh and sexy. Man bun + tatttoos + those eyes + his brain + his overall gentle nature (unless playing bball) = hot guy that is totally my type. *ahem* I mean Lily's type. Lily is West's BFF, neighbor, professional ballerina, and funny and beautiful as hell. So what's the problem? Wellllll, initially it's that they only view each other as friends and later it's Blaney (haha, I couldn't help it). Court: So much to say, and you nailed it all in this one paragraph. Starting with the man bun. Like, omigod...I think that is the hairstyle I might make D do now...and another book to add to my badass beard shelf on gr. But, to go with that, West is one of the best, best friend, characters that I have the pleasure to read...and I loved he and Lily's friendship immensely. I loved all of their friendships, but the combo was heady (see above describing his combo = combo aplenty)

Shel: Here are some things that stood out to me while reading:
  • Funny dialogue So funny! I laughed out loud a few times.
  • Fantastic ensemble cast of characters I am seriously in love with this group of friends.
  • I loved that Lily isn't one of those ballerina's who starves herself Girl definitely had enough drama going on to have that added to
  • The research Staci Hart did was thorough and yet it didn't feel jargon-y with the ballet lingo at all--it read very realistically I wonder is Staci a ballerina? If not, she did some good research, yo. (Or, somebody who knows more about it than I do can assess that...but it didn't feel over the top at all)
  • I also loved how strong Lily was. Sure she had her moments with Blane that were less than stellar, but Lily never backed down and was always honest, even when it sucked. Right. There were some things that stared her right in the face, but I loved how these people don't slut shame, nor do they try to dictate their friends lives...they let each person be an individual, loved them anyway when they fucked up, and by george...helped them follow their chosen path to the end.
  • West's procrastination of essay grading was 100% spot on (as one who does this myself I felt his pain!) and I loved that Staci Hart shared that part of being a teacher. (grading essays is a thankless job, y'all). :P I knew you would catch on to that. If only you could write true life thoughts on each one. 
  • The conflicts for both of these characters  (Lily and West) also read realistically. I've been so trained by novels in this genre to expect over the top angst-filled drama that it was refreshing to read something so believable. It was believable, but most all fun and truly enjoyable to read. The pages flew by, and the pace and writing were great, even though I was nervous to read something so different after loving Hardcore so very hardcore. I felt each emotion with our characters whether it be sad, happy, elated, drunk, hungover, mad...the list goes on and on, but I love to be shown a world that I would want to live in. 
Shel: After getting to know these characters, I'm eager to see what this NYC crew of friends gets into next. This romcom is a great read and something you'll find hard to put down; you'll find yourself reading it with a smile on your face and a desire for more. Court: I can't wait to find out what Staci Hart delivers next...and definitely have my thoughts on some people doing some secretive shenanigans! I can't wait to see how it all plays out! 

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About the author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom; she has three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife; even though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.
From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.
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