Friday, 8 April 2016

New Release and Review: Undecided by Julianna Keyes

By: Julianna Keyes
Releasing April 4, 2016

Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.

Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.

But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…

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 “Want to see a movie?” Crosbie asks as we drive closer.
I squint at the list of shows. It’s an enormous multiplex and the parking lot is packed. He inches past the front so we can see what’s playing.
“Kill Glory 3 is out? I thought it wasn’t coming until December.”
Crosbie laughs uncomfortably when I name the latest installment of the popular horror franchise. “What else is playing?”
I look at him. “You don’t like scary movies?”
He purses his lips. “I like them fine.”
My jaw drops. “You’re afraid.”
“Am not.”
“Maybe Toy Story 6 is playing.”
“The Toy Story franchise is classic.”
“Okay, fine.” I crane my neck to try to see some more names. “There’s Tanker Race 2, Soda Shoppe Gals, Operation—I think that’s based on the board game—and that documentary about seals. Anything you’re dying to see?”
He finds parking at the end of a row and unbuckles his seatbelt. “Lady’s choice.”
“Kill Glory 3.”
“Never mind, you can’t choose.”
“Have you seen the first two? They’re excellent. It’s about this death angel named Glory who keeps returning to earth to try to get revenge—”
“I saw five minutes of the first one, and that was enough.”
“So…Soda Shoppe Gals?”
He tips his head to peer out the windshield at the start times. We’ve got half an hour until the next showings. “We can see Kill Glory 3,” he says reluctantly, reaching over to tug me in by the collar. “But let’s make out for a bit first.”
“Make out?” I feign offense. “You haven’t even bought me popcorn.”
“Can I just give you the ten dollars?”
We’re laughing when our lips meet, teeth bumping until we get serious. Crosbie displays none of the urgency I’m feeling, kissing me leisurely, exploring, learning. Again, it’s a surprise. He’s got one hand curled against my neck while the other rests against the back of the seat. If I’d ever given any thought to making out in a car with Crosbie Lucas, I’d have pictured him sticking his hand up my shirt—or down my pants—in the first thirty seconds. But that doesn’t appear to be the plan for tonight, and I quash the tiny part of me that’s disappointed and tell myself to just enjoy the moment. I’ve actually never done this before. I had zero boyfriends in high school, and I don’t think any of the guys I kissed last year even had a car. At least, I never bothered to learn enough about them to find out if they did.
Teenagers walk by and holler “Get a room!” breaking us apart. We’re both breathing hard, the windows only starting to steam up, advertising our activities without actually obscuring them.
“Hi,” Crosbie says.
I can’t help but smile. “Hi.”

I don't pick up many new adult novels but the blurb piqued my interest sufficiently to want to read Undecided. I love discovering new writers and Ms. Keyes is a new author to me.

Nora Kincaid spent the whole summer working, studying and doing community service thanks to her rather wild freshman year in college. She's unfortunately lost half her scholarship and needs to improve her grades. Long gone are the party clothes and now cardigans are part of image overhaul as she attempts to turn her life around. Only she soon realises how boring life has become. Before the new college year begins, she has to find somewhere to live. After exchanging numerous emails with "Matthew", she goes to view the apartment, only the person who opens the door isn't "Matthew" at all!

Crosbie Lucas is the ultimate party animal and details of his sexual conquests are literally plastered all over the walls of the Student Union bathrooms. He's used to seeing scantily clad young women so he's blind-sided when his best friend Kellan's new room-mate is wearing a frumpy cardigan. Seeing Nora triggers unexpected reactions...lust, but the second one has him rethinking his whole attitude to his student life behaviour. 

Undecided starts off somewhat slowly, but as we are introduced to Nora Kincaid, Kellan McVey and Crosbie Lucas, numerous titbits of their past years escapades come to light. I really appreciated not knowing where the plot was heading, keeping up the intrigue and me turning the pages as I anticipated what was going to happen. It's very easy to think that the plot is developing into a love triangle, but that didn't materialise. An unexpected plot twist surprised me and was refreshingly honest and well done.

To sum up, Undecided is a fun book, laugh out loud funny standalone novel, with some hilarious exchanges between the protagonists. The storyline is amusing until the secrets are revealed, but then it went somewhat flat, prompting me to lose interest and struggle to read to the end. Overall, I feel confident that those more familiar with the genre will find this book highly entertaining.

***arc received via Tasty Book Tours***

Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills—or terrifies—her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, though not necessarily in that order, and writes sizzling stories with strong characters, plenty of conflict, and lots of making up.
In addition to Undecided, she is the author of four contemporary romances: Just Once, the story of a world weary socialite and a stubborn ranch foreman; Going the Distance, a love story set in China between a kindergarten ESL teacher and a former army interrogator; Time Served, the tale of an ambitious young lawyer whose perfect world is jeopardized when she reunites with her ex-con ex-boyfriend; and In Her Defense, in which a ruthless young lawyer realizes there’s more to life than being the best…right?
For more details on these and any upcoming books, 
visit her online at, or 
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