Friday, May 3, 2013

Guest Review: Against The Wall, Books 1-3 by Julie Prestsater - 3 Wine Glasses!

Against The Wall (Against The Wall #1)Against The Wall 
(Against The Wall #1)
by Julie Prestsater
Kindle Edition, 305 pages
Published April 21st 2012
Copy Courtesy of Author & the Author's Taproom
Shelly Gelson had it all...a job teaching English at Carver High, her best friend, Mel, working by her side and engaged to her high school sweetheart, Chase Marino. That is until Chase breaks her heart and leaves her for another teacher at the school. Now Shel is left broken hearted and trying to figure out what she wants while watching Chase and the home wrecker make moon eyes at each other. Enter Matt Fuller, Shel's friend for the past 5 years and the perfect rebound. He's gorgeous, smart, funny and fits into Shel's idea of the right guy. Only problem is there may be more there then just a simple rebound. Is it a way to fill a void left by Chase, or is there more smoldering between these two friends? Find out what happens when the bell rings and the teenage drama ends and the adult drama begins. Who says being a teacher is boring? They obviously haven't met the teachers at Carver High.
Amazon - Amazon Kindle (FREE) - B&N

Between The Sheets (Against The Wall #2)Between The Sheets 
(Against The Wall #2)
by Julie Prestsater
Published December 11th 2012 by Julie Prestsater
Copy Courtesy of Author & the Author's Taproom
The passion between Mel and Ty is undeniable. But do they have the love to go the distance?
Melissa Cruz has been in love with her best friend's sexgod of an older brother since ... well, since forever. She let Tyler slip away in the past, but this time she is determined to have a second chance at love, even if that means packing up and leaving her family and best friend behind.
Tyler Gelson has admired his little sister's spitfire of a friend since the day since the day he met her. Over the years, that little girl has turned into one hell of a hot woman and he has definitely taken notice. The love he feels for her has him making some tough decisions. Ones that involve leaving his dream job and moving back home for good.
When unexpected news comes their way, will Mel and Ty let the distance wreck their second chance at happiness? Or will these soul mates prove that the love they share is more than what happens Between The Sheets?
(Although, that's pretty damn good too.)

Straddling The Edge (Against The Wall, #3)Straddling The Edge 
(Against The Wall #3)
by Julie Prestsater 
Published April 29th 2013
Copy Courtesy of Author & the Author's Taproom
Summer McGallian … the scandalous home wrecker from Against the Wall and Between The Sheets. The one who stole her co-worker’s fiancé, the other woman, the one people whisper about and stay away from. Only for Summer, things aren't always as they appear and she knows that better than anyone. She hasn’t been herself since she was in high school, when life was less complicated and relationships weren’t about making compromises to land the guy. When her heart is broken, there's only one thing left for her to do … prove she isn't who everyone thinks she is. And maybe, just maybe, she can get back to being comfortable in her own skin again, without input from a man. But when she encounters Sexy Guy, Dean Michaels, everything Summer has ever known about the opposite sex is about to change.
Dean Michaels knew he’d seen her somewhere before. What he never imagined was that the gorgeous woman in a baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt tossing back a beer in his favorite spot could be Summer McGallian—the woman who always looked like she’d stepped off the pages of a glamour magazine when he’d seen her from afar at work. And to make matters worse, she’s Chase Marino’s ex, the one guy who gets under his skin like no other. If the thought of being someone’s bitch in jail wasn’t enough to scare him, he would’ve strangled that bastard years ago and tossed the body in the Mojave Desert. But forget about Chase … Dean knew from the moment he saw Summer’s sexy smile and heard her cute laugh, she had to be his. And he won't let anything get in the way of that.
The Against The Wall series isn’t just about steamy sex scenes and swoon-worthy romance, but about new friendships, undying love, and a ton of laughter. Enjoy the ride as you get to know and love Summer and Dean, just as you did Shelly and Matt, and Melissa and Tyler, in the third book, Straddling The Edge.
Amazon - Amazon Kindle - B&N

Archana's Thoughts:
One look at the bio of Prestsater and it is easy to generalise the background of the book – the author is a teacher who loves NFL and beer.  I am also sure she snorts once in a while, likes sensitive men who surprise her with elaborate plans and go down on one knee to propose. She is witty, humorous, outspoken (maybe a bit crass) and values friendships and relationships.

It is easy to assume the above, because in all the three books, the protagonists are the same –even if they come in different names – Shelly Gelson in the first one (Against the Wall), Melissa Cruz in the second (Between the Sheets) and Summer MacGallian in the final one (Straddling the Edge). There are few differentiating factors of course, like Summer is more shy (though once she opens up and starts snorting, you realise she is just another Shelly) and Mel is more in-your-face (you’ve gotta love her!). 

Set in Carver High School, “Against the Wall” starts off with a betrayal – by Chase Martino, the high-school sweetheart of Shelly, with another teacher, Summer. While Shel is finding it hard to let go, seeing them together every day does not help matters either. Mel, happily married (though slightly ignored by her ‘overworking’ husband), coaxes her to start dating, which is when Shel notices her colleague Mat Fuller. They are mutually attracted to each other, but Mat wants her to be sure that this was not rebound love. He encourages her to date other men. Some twists, turns and one more betrayal later, Shel and Matt are happily preparing themselves for the wedding, while Mel has started going out with Shel’s brother Tyler.

Continuing where the first one left off, “Between the Sheets” welcomes us with Matt and Shel’s marriage, and the buzzing chemistry and uncertainty of Mel and Ty’s romance. With Tyler working as an art teacher in another city, the long distance relationship seems jinxed from the start. There are compromises no one wants to make, and a lack of open communication no one wants to rectified. A bout of misunderstanding and some interventions later, they both finally have a heart-to-heart and figure out what would work the best for them.

The third one, an unexpected one at that, tells the story of Summer MacGallian, the woman Chase had fallen for while he was in a relationship with Shel. Believed to be a home-wrecker, we finally get to see a different side of her – a more lonely and a confused side with an identity crisis. With Mel and Shel, she finally comes on her own, and finds her happy ending as well with Dean, who could see beyond her beautiful body and one of the few men, who could treat her with respect.

The series sees the growth of the author herself – while the first book was too dreamy and make-believe, the second one was witty and funny, while the last one was more realistic and mature. While I did not like the fact that all the three love interests (Matt, Tyler and Dean) were way too perfect to be real, the books had a stronger theme holding it together – the strong characterisation of the women leads and the friendship between Mel, Shel and later, Summer. There was no helpless shaking of heads or wallowing of self-pity post the break-ups. These women dusted the hurt off, and got back on their feet quickly.  It may have helped that these women were also fiercely loyal towards each other – they stuck together in times of need and prioritised their friendship amidst beers, vulgar jokes and harmless leg-pulling – a relationship we all have with our childhood friends.

As a romantic series, I would recommend this book to all the women in their late teens and early twenties. I can imagine going weak in the knees about 10 years ago. However, as a friendship series, this book would be able to touch the heart of even the most cynical of women. Finally, if you are one of those who finds the idea of reading a series daunting and could make do with one, I would strongly recommend ‘Straddling the Edge’ for its vulnerability or ‘Between the Sheets’ for its wit.

Rating: 3 Wine Glasses
Reviewed By: Archana

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