Review for The Secrets Of Attraction by Robin Constantine

The Secrets Of Attraction by Robin Constantine

TITLE: The Secrets Of Attraction
SERIES: The Promise Of Amazing Companion Novel
AUTHOR: Robin Constantine
PUBLICATION DATE: April 28, 2015
PUBLISHER: Balzar + Bray
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Won
RATING: 5 bows

Madison Pryce has her life all figured out. She is working on her portfolio to make sure she can become the architect she dreams of, she has a close group of friends, and a hot boyfriend. Then she finds out something that changes everything. Suddenly she isn’t so sure she knows what she wants and who she wants it from. Jesse McMann still hasn’t gotten over his last girlfriend. She smashed his heart to smithereens when she dumped him in favor of his best friend….who also happened to be his drummer. He lost his love and his band in one fell swoop. Now that his finally gotten around to auditioning a new drummer, fate steps in. The new drummer just happens to be Grayson Barrett, boyfriend to Wren who is besties with Madison (AKA, the girl who comes in every Thursday for a chai). The more time Jesse & Madison spend together, the more they feel the pulls of attraction. Can they get over their issues and make things work or will their problems get in the way?

Madison was a character I liked instantly. She’s smart, fun, driven, and she knows exactly where she wants her life to go. She’s also so artsy, which is something I admire. I can’t draw a stick figure or imagine an awesome new lay-out for a house, or take dynamic photographs (though I can snap near perfect concert pics). Madison can do all those things. Though she wants to go into architecture, she’s always trying to do other things to add to her portfolio to showcase her willingness to take risks and try new things. She also doesn’t take things too seriously. She likes to keep things light and fun, never really the type to get into a serious relationship. Even when she starts getting closer to Jesse, she just wants to hang out and fool around with him, enjoy his company. The thought of a serious commitment doesn’t really enter her mind. That’s thrilling for me because I was the exact opposite. I was more of a Wren than a Madison, but it’s fascinating to read from an entirely different perspective. The way she handles her feelings about the changes and new information in her life was so heart-breakingly realistic. She’s in a no win situation. This is something that should make her happy. It’s definitely not bad news and yet, she can’t come to terms with it. I loved it so much. I also loved how confident she was in herself. In YA, we get a lot of girls who don’t think much of themselves. We get those girls that think they are ugly but all the guys swarm telling the oh so clever audience that the girl is far from ugly. That is not to be found here. Madison knows she’s attractive. She isn’t overly cocky about it, just confident enough to admit she looks good. It was entirely refreshing to read that after all the Bella Swan character types I’ve been seeing.

Jesse may have been more swoon-worthy than Grayson was….at least until Gray shows up here and starts stealing my heart again.
Cluesless swoon gif
Nope, must focus on Jesse! Part of what I loved about Jesse is his dual personality. There was normal Jesse and then there was Stage Jesse. I loved that he was entirely aware of how confident he became onstage and tried (and failed) to emulate that in normal life. That is something about the lights and the crowd and the guitar that allows him to let go and know it’ll be okay. It was wholly adorable. Everything about him is adorable. I’m sure that’s not what he’s going for. He’s going for that hot rock god thing and, while he succeeds at that, I’m more a sucker for the adorable-ness that comes around when he isn’t on stage. Plus, you kinda just want to give the guy a hug. He literally had his heart torn out and stomped on. He’s best friend stole his girlfriend from underneath him. Losing your girlfriend is hard enough, but knowing your best friend cares so little about you that he’d take that away and ruin your band in the process (because no high school band can survive that kind of drama) is beyond devastating. Plus, neither one of them seem sorry. They both act as if Jesse’s feelings don’t factor in to the equation. Which is really shitty. I’m not a fan of that whole “love makes it okay to fuck with people thing.” Love is important and I’m behind that emotion 100% but it doesn’t negate basic courtesy. If things weren’t working, Hannah should have said something instead of fucking around with Jesse’s friend. Said friend should have turned down Hannah’s advances because he knows better. I kinda wanted to bitch slap both of them. But it’s okay because Jesse’s better off. The only thing I didn’t love about Jesse was his taste in music. I’m probably the only rocker on the planet who can’t stand Nirvana or Pink Floyd, but I despise both of them. Every time I see them mentioned anywhere, I can’t help rolling my eyes. I do applaud Constantine for putting in actual band names. I know people say specifying the bands or songs can date a novel, but I prefer that. Even if it’s songs I hate, at least I can ground the novel more by listening to what the characters are. And it can introduce me to new music which is always a plus.

This was possibly better than The Promise Of Amazing. Me saying that is a huge thing because I loved TPOA. My only issue with it was some of the dialogue felt a bit off. I did read an ARC of that, so it’s quite possible it was fixed before publishing and my issue became a moot point, but sometimes Gray’s words bugged me and pulled me out of the story. That is not the case here. All the talking (verbal or otherwise) felt very realistic. I loved that the cursing wasn’t just limited to the guys. Madison and Wren both say fuck at least once and that makes it more believable for me. I know that’s not the case for everyone, but I cursed in high school (and still do ^-^) and though I know there are people who don’t, I find that hard to believe and relate to. Sometimes in life, I feel like swear words are necessary. When you stub your toe and it hurts so bad you think you might have broken it “oh poo” just doesn’t cover it. So I loved that the characters spouted real swear words and not stupid substitutes. That’s actually a pet peeve of mine that I blame on the House Of Night series. At no point in life should one ever utter the words bullpoop in lieu of bullshit. It doesn’t work. If you must refrain from cursing, simply say BS and let it be. Mini-rant over.

This should have annoyed me in many ways. I hate love triangles.
Alan Rickman annoyed gif
But this was done so differently that I couldn’t be mad at it. Besides, it was more like a love….what kind of shape pentagon. It make me think of that Amanda Bynes movie She’s The Man. Zack loves Madison, who likes Jesse, who is hung up on Hannah, who is with Duncan. It’s hard to be mad at Madison for the triangle when its clear that she never meant for it to happen. It’s obvious to annoying who pays attention that she just wanted things to be causal with Zack and he just couldn’t handle that. And Jesse isn’t really in a triangle, he is just mopey over HannaDunk, which is understandable. Fuck, poor Jesse. I just feel so bad for him.

What it comes down to is this: this is the perfect contemporary YA romance. You get angst, drama, wit, charm, and, of course, romance. It’s fun, it’s heart-breaking at times, and it has that perfectly imperfect ending that we call crave. Things end on a good note, but there is still enough room for growth and development for the characters that you know everything won’t be 100% perfect. I loved it so much, I don’t think there are words. Basically, if you are a fan of Stephanie Perkins or Kasie West or Claire LaZebnik, you’ll love this!

****Thank you to Balzar + Bray for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows
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Flirting Fails inspired by The Promise Of Amazing by Robin Constantine (& Giveaway)

Robin Constantine is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA contemporary authors. The Promise Of Amazing is pretty awesome and The Secrets Of Attraction is even better. They both showcase the best and the worst of dating advice. I was relatively lucky when I was younger, never really doing anything over the top to grab a crush’s attention….or if I did, I’ve blocked it out. But regardless of whether or not you act on it, there is always advice in abundance from your friends on how to make that special someone notice you. The worst among those for me was always the line about pretending to like whatever it is they like just to show you have common interests. Every romcom movie or show can show you how that’s a bad idea because you invariably end up in a situation where your fake love is put to the test and found wanting. However, in the heat of the moment, it always seems like a good idea. One of my bigger blunders was faking interest in basketball to catch a guys attention. I have no interest in sports what-so-ever, so I know nothing about basketball except that the main goal is to put the ball through the hoop. I was hanging out with a group of people at a friends house one afternoon and my crush was sitting on the coach watching a basketball game. I oh-so-causally plopped down on the sofa beside him and he immediately started talking about how he loved the sport. My overenthusiastic response about loving the sport as well gave the impression that I knew all about and he was quickly asking my opinions on different teams and recent games. That definitely didn’t go well. I think I was hoping he’d be more of a quiet type or just talk about his opinions so I can agree with them instead of asking me what I thought. After that, my biggest bit of advice to anyone is just to be yourself. It sounds cliche, but really, why spend time lying about things to get someone to like you? What happens when they realized you lied about things? Beyond that, what happens when you are going on dates with someone you have no common interests with because you faked enthusiasm for things you really don’t care about? That doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend time to me! Robin’s books have a good bit of that message in them. Just be yourself!

The Promise Of Amazing by Robin Constantine

TITLE: The Promise Of Amazing
AUTHOR: Robin Constantine
PUBLICATION DATE: December 31, 2015
PUBLISHER: Balzar + Bray
PAGES: 371 pages
RATING: 4 Bows

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

The Secrets Of Attraction by Robin Constantine

TITLE: The Secrets Of Attraction
AUTHOR: Robin Constantine
PUBLICATION DATE: April 28, 2015
PUBLISHER: Balzar + Bray
PAGES: 384 pages
RATING: 5 Bows
MY REVIEW: Check back here on April 3rd to check out my review!

Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine’s debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Mlynowski, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Madison Pryce thinks she’s got everything figured out—she’s working on a portfolio for a summer art program and hanging with her friends. Plus she has her hot boyfriend, Zach. But then a visit from a family friend turns Maddie’s life upside down.

Jesse McMann is still reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band. Then pride (and some goading from his bass player and fellow barista) forces him to find a new drummer—and the inspiration to write music again.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett, who tries out for Jesse’s band, and whose girlfriend is BFFs with the cute girl who orders a chai latte after yoga every Thursday: Maddie. What Jesse and Maddie thought they knew about the secrets of attraction and the rules of romance changes once they start falling for each other.


Robin Constantine
Robin Constantine is the author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction. A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Robin likes to spend her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, eventually, but not without a lot of peril, angst, and the occasional kissing scene. She loves swoony books, flip-flops, dark chocolate and the full moon.

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Pinterest | Instagram | Blog | Tumblr


I’ve been generously provided with a paperback copy of The Promise Of Amazing to give to a lucky follower. In addition to that, I have a little TPOA swag in my possesion, so I’ll do two winners. The first prize is the novel and the second is a swag back. This giveaway is US only. Good luck!

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Event Recap – Robin Constantine Signing (& My first giveaway!)

This past Sunday the lovely Robin Constantine did a reading and signing at Park Road Books in Charlotte NC. My first official author event, on a small scale. Technical YA’ll fest was, but I mean for something a little less chaotic. I was more than a little excited. I read The Promise Of Amazing last month and loved you. You can read my original review, but all you really need to know is this book is everything the title promises, amazing. Robin’s debut novel has that realistic, believable teenage voice that we all search for when we pick up a YA novel, especially a contemporary one. Wren and Gray’s story is moving and raw, with enough humor thrown in to keep me laughing even in public. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already read it.

Anyway, I arrived at the bookstore an hour or so early to purchase my copy and then settled into a comfy chair with Luna (my kindle) to wait for the fun to begin. When Robin arrived, I sat silently and observed. I’m quite shy in public so I patiently waited for the event to officially start. A nice store employee gave Robin a brief introduction and we were off. She explained a little about the book and read an excerpt from chapter 1. She took questions and then we all lined up to get autographs and a little face time. Robin was very sweet and gracious to everyone, I even got an extra bookmark signed. Also, since I want you guys to understand what I loved (and get a taste of this amazing novel), I recorded the reading. So, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you, an excerpt of Chapter 1 of The Promise Of Amazing. Enjoy!

I also took a few pictures.
Robin Constantine's tableRobin Constantine's introductionRobin Constantine discussing The Promise Of AmazingRobin Constantine with random fan
Did I mention that she brought cupcakes? Because she so brought cupcakes…and I so took a photo of them.

Me with Robin:
Me with Robin Constantine
My book:
Autographed copy of The Promise Of Amazing

Overall, I think it was pretty awesome. And since I hate reading other blogs author event recaps because I become insanely jealous that I could not attend whatever event they were lucky enough to get to go to and talk to the authors and get swag and autographs, I did my part to share the experience to one lucky winner who gets an autographed The Promise Of Amazing bookmark, along with various other swag.

Giveaway Rules:
-US Only – Sorry, I can’t afford to ship internationally right now.
-No cheating! – Don’t log in under one email address for entries and then log in under a different one.
-Good luck!


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Review for The Promise Of Amazing by Robin Constantine

The Promise Of Amazing by Robin Constantine

TITLE: The Promise Of Amazing
AUTHOR: Robin Constantine
PUBLICATION DATE: December 31, 2013
PUBLISHER: Balzar + Bray, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Wren is average. She is ranked somewhere in the middle of her high school and the only comment her teachers ever have about her is that she is a bit too quiet. She is sick of it and desperate to change. Speak up more, live in the moment, and not let people push her around. She definitely gets people’s attention when she performs the Heimlich on a guest at a wedding at her parents catering hall and saves his life. Grayson was that guest and he can’t get Wren out of his mind ever since. He used to be the big man on campus at St Gabriel’s, but after being expelled for selling term papers, he’s a bit lost. Not sure who he is anymore or who he wants to be, he only knows that Wren saved his life and he has to find out more about her.

Wren was a character I could instantly sympathize with. I can completely understand that feeling of being labeled “average” when it’s anything but accurate and letting people walk all over you because your too quiet to speak up. I enjoyed watching her try to step out of her comfort zone, especially when Grayson was around. There were moments when I wanted to slap her because, as much as I like Gray, I couldn’t believe she was buying his bullshit. That whole mall thing would have sent me over the deep end and no amount of kisses and sweet-talk could have convinced me to forgive him at that exact moment. I get that she a bit under-experienced when it comes to boys, but come on lady, open your eyes and demand answers in a now-or-never fashion and he either fesses up or moves on. Speaking of her experience with guys, can I just say that I love the fact that she isn’t a virgin and is still portrayed as a “good” girl?!? Too many times in YA, a girl can’t be the goodie goodie if she dares to have sex and it’s sickening. But that’s not to be found here, with Wren being an honors student, a great worker at her parents catering hall, and a loyal friend.

Grayson was a bit of a jackass in the beginning. In fact, I think Wren’s first description of him was something similar because he was doing obnoxious tricks at the wedding she was “waitressing.” He improves though. I am delighted to say that this is told in duel perspectives, so we get to see Gray’s side of things as well. The more time I get behind his eyes, the more I just wanted to hug him. He seems so lost. He has basically lost his identity because everything changed when he got booted from St Gabes, his friends even ignored him all summer. But they are back now, demanding his help with “Operation Amsterdam,” a scheme that would bring shame to anyone with a lick of sense. I thought it was a weed selling business, because Amsterdam always implies marijuana, but oh how wrong I was. I think the truth is much worse than that. That’s really sayings something for me because I’m extremely anti-drug. He’s out of the game and doesn’t want to get back in, especially because of what Wren would think if she found out, but his friends are pressuring (and threatening) him to come back for just one last score. I think he is trying to grow up and move on, but they just won’t let him.

What is really adorable here is the interactions between the entire cast. Grayson is so sweet to Wren and I love them together, her presence pushing him to be better and his pushing her to step out of her comfort zone. Even though it felt a bit insta-lovey, I still enjoyed the two pairing up. But it isn’t just them I enjoyed, I liked the banter between Wren’s entire group of friends and family, as well as seeing Gray’s half-siblings. Wren and Jazz do that whole movie quotes/references thing that puts me in nerd-girl heaven.

One bit of advice though? When you are doing a reference or a quote, don’t go back and say what you’re quoting. In a real conversation, if I quote The Princess Bride, I know enough to know that my friends will understand the reference and I know there is no need to explain it. I felt like the book was almost dumbed-down a bit to make sure everyone understood the film references and that brought down the magic level a bit. It may sound a little silly, but it took me out of the moment and if it bugged me, I’m sure it’ll bug someone else too. Another minor issue was the insta-love I referred to early. I know they are teenagers and become connected because she saves his life, but saying the L word within two – three weeks is a bit too soon. I think it would have been entirely feasible to just leave that out and the novel would have progressed fine. The attraction was enough to bring the two together and keep them together, no need to throw love in the mix. Maybe just a hint of it, but no declarations until the end, please! The final issue is just my personal thought, but it felt like Gray used too much teen-speak. Maybe I’m too adult now to know how “kids” really talk these days, but there were a few moments when Gray’s inner monologue (or dialogue) felt wrongly worded.

Despite the minor problems, this book really gets massive amounts of love from me. Wren and Gray’s journey to one another is adorable, while still managing to have enough drama to provide adequate conflict. It’s filled with sweet romantic moments, humorous dialogue, and an addictive quality that made it impossible to stop reading. I devoured this book in just a few days and considering this is exam week and all my spare time has been ear-marked for studying and taking my exams, that’s really saying something. Anyone who enjoys contemporary YA’s will love this. It reminded me quite a bit of Anna & The French Kiss and that alone should recommend it!

****Thank you to Balzar + Bray, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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