Title: Stir Me Up
Author: Sabrina Elkins
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Format: eBook, 245 Pages
ISBN-10: 1459254732 (Harlequin Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-1459254732 (Harlequin Teen)
Reviewed by: Bridget
Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She’ll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father’s French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami’s family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Julian’s all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami’s starting to feel. And Cami can’t stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He’s got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….
Quick & Dirty: Beautiful heartfelt book full of relatable characters, sexy romance, and real life issues. It’s a fast read with lots of layers that made it unique and interesting.
Opening Sentence: I’m proud to say that after five years of virtual slavery, I am now allowed to make the soup on Wednesday nights for étoile, my father’s restaurant.
Cami is 17 years old and getting ready to start her last year of high school. Life couldn’t be better. She is very passionate about cooking and she gets to work part-time in her father’s French restaurant this year alongside her boyfriend, Luke. Then there is a tragic accident and her stepmother’s nephew has to move in with them. Suddenly Cami’s carefully planned future is about to get very confusing.
While stationed in Afghanistan there was an explosion that left Julian seriously injured and all the rest of his unit dead. Not only does he take up room in her home, he also makes his way into her heart. While she watches him struggle, she can’t help but respect and admire him. He wakes up emotions and feelings that Cami has never felt before. Julian is frustrating, angry, and broken, but underneath all that Cami finds a kindred spirit that might feel just as lost as she is.
Cami is an amazing character. She has an extreme love for cooking, which I really enjoyed and found relatable since I also enjoy cooking. She is an amazing and sweet girl, but she also has a feisty side to her. She’s not at all afraid to speak her mind, which was refreshing. The love and affection she shows others is very endearing and made her a very likable character. But not everything in Cami’s life is perfect at times, she feels completely lost. High school ends in just a year and she has no idea what she wants to do with her future. She has a few options but none of them feel right. You get to watch her struggle to make some hard life decisions that all teenagers have to go through. She is a great heroine and I loved being inside her head.
Julian is a hot and grumpy ex-marine. When you meet him he has just lost his leg and the other leg is left in tatters. He is so broken and ridden with guilt, he honestly doesn’t know what to do with himself. Once he meets Cami you start to see glimpses of the old Julian. She doesn’t treat him like he is any different, and she doesn’t put up with any of his crap. As he slowly put his life back together you get to see how love and forgiveness can really heal so many wounds. The thing I loved most about Julian was that he could be a real person. His experience has happened to many men and women from our military. It reminds me how much I should appreciate them and what they sacrifice for our country. The loss and guilt he felt is all too real in many lives today. He is a wonderful, very believable character that I truly loved reading about.
This was a very quick read that was immensely enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth the story has. Yes, it is total chick lit, but on top of the romance there are real issues presented that made the story so much more believable and heartfelt. It wasn’t all fluff and drama, which was a nice change for a contemporary read. The characters were so unique and developed, and really well thought out. Elkins took time to develop everything slowly, which made it all feel so much more real. The romance was beautifully done with just the right mix of drama and heat. There was a moment in the book where I did start to lose a tad bit of interest, but it didn’t take too long for me to get swept back up in the story. Overall, this was a very good read and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is looking to progress into New Adult books. This fills the gap between YA and NA perfectly, which makes it a really good start for the New Adult genre.
I can’t hear his response.
She leans over his face, probably to kiss him. Then she turns away from him, obviously hiding the fact that she’s crying. I feel so bad for her, I go in and hand her the crumpled tissue in my pocket. She takes it and holds my arm. She holds it like she needs it to stay upright. I don’t even notice the patient in the bed, I’m so focused on Estella, and she’s blocking my view anyway. “I’ll get you a chair,” I say. She’s nodding. Trying to keep it together.
“No, don’t sit down,” a garbled voice from behind her says. “Just leave.”
“But Julian,” Estella begins, turning to face him.
“LEAVE!” he cries.
Some nerve. “You know, Estella has been worried half out of her mind,” I say.
“She flew down here with her heart in her…”
Holy Mother of God. Estella moves away and I’m looking at her nephew. And I’m praying. Holy Mother of God, I pray. Well, a sort-of prayer. His eyes are so blackened and swollen he must hardly be able to see. His nose is broken and bandaged. His bottom lip is a busted mess. He’s wearing a neck brace. His right leg, covered by a hand-knitted quilt, is cut off just below the knee. His left leg is bare and outfitted with an extremely scary-looking apparatus made of metal rods and pins. The pins have been surgically inserted into his skin, presumably to hold the bones in place. I close my eyes. Holy Mother, ease his pain, I think to myself. Heal him.
“Julian, this is your new step-cousin, Camille,” Estella says.
“GET OUT!” Something is knocked across the room—a book I think.
FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of Stir Me Up. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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