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Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.
Posted September 2, 2014
This was a sweet read. Took me a bit to get into this story, but once things started picking up, I couldn't put it down.
Jordan drove me nuts as a main character. She doesn't know what she wants and it seems she didn't know who she was either. Which is why she went abroad for a year for school. To figure out herself and her future. But she flip flopped so much throughout this book it drove me nuts. First ut was Griffin, then Noah, then Griffin again. Then Griffin left and it was Noah, then she didn't want either of them. It was confusing.
But the characters also made me laugh. The story had a great flow to it and the writing was awesome. I may not have given this book 5 stars but it will not deter me from reading more from this author.
**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**
Posted May 19, 2014
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When I first started If Only, I really had my doubts. It’s a New Adult book and I’ve read so many of those that I can’t stand. The only New Adult book I really, really love is Easy by Tammara Webber. While If Only is pretty much opposite from Easy in plot and character, I think I love it almost as much as Easy.
The book is about Jordan Brooks, an American student taking a year abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland. It’s been two years since she’s had a boyfriend and because she’ll only be there until the summer, Jordan’s looking forward to meeting a no-strings-attached guy for the time in Aberdeen. Cue two hot guys: Griffin and Noah. Griffin is a self-proclaimed man-whore that you can’t help but love and Noah is that sweet guy who reads (and can quote!!) the classics. Jordan meets them both on the train to Aberdeen. Although she sits with Griffin on the train, she shares a kiss with Noah when the two are accidentally locked in a small space together. She knows she and Noah shared a mind-blowing kiss and special moment together, but then she finds out he has a girlfriend.
The book isn’t just about romance, it’s also a great journey as Jordan finds herself during her year abroad.
Okay, Jordan is awesome. Like I said, at first I wasn’t sure about it, but Jordan is just super cute and funny and even though she’s head-over-heels in love with this guy, she doesn’t turn into a quivering mass the moment the two separate. She’s a great heroine with a fantastic voice.
Noah. What is there to say about this boy? He’s adorable. He did some things that I totally did not agree with (like invading her privacy by reading something she’d written in her journal), but throughout the book, it’s really easy to love Noah and see why Jordan likes him. And let’s not forget that he has some great lines in the book. Like “It’s you, Brooks. Ever since the train it’s been you.” Can anyone tell I love this guy?
Griffin. At first, I thought I would hate Griffin. I don’t like man-whores in any book, especially the jerky ones who don’t care who they hurt. Griffin is such a polar opposite of that. Yeah, he’s still a man-whore, but he’s got a great heart and he steps up and does the right thing when it comes down to it.
Secondary characters like Elaina and Duncan came off the page in their scenes and were very memorable. I loved the way that the author described everything in the book, from the characters’ appearances to the layout of the school. If Only doesn’t have any sex scenes (until the very end), but I thought that kind of added to the story in a great way. Sometimes love is more about that slow burn as you wait for it and A.J. Pine did a fantastic job with that. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to add to their New Adult or romance shelves. It won’t disappoint.
Posted March 31, 2014
If Only is a complicated book. Perhaps a better way to put it is that If Only is a drama filled book. Sometimes this can be a good thing, and sometimes it can be bad. Here it was a little of both.
Despite the book’s synopsis I don’t think it’s too spoilery to say that Jordan and Noah are the main couple we’re supposed to be rooting for. A lot of the time I totally shipped Jordan and Noah together, but there were also times when I wasn’t sure if I liked Noah or if he deserved Jordan. Noah has a misplaced sense of loyalty, and he clings to his past rather than taking a chance on the girl he has real feelings for. He jumps to conclusions and judges Jordan rather unfairly. Despite all this, when Noah has a good moment, it’s a very good moment. And it becomes more complicated, because he’s not afraid to own up to his mistakes and try to make things right.
What I loved about the book was seeing Jordan experiencing new things, traveling and making new friends. I adored Jordan's roommate, Elaina, and Duncan was another great secondary character. For background characters I found them to be well developed. Despite my minor issues with the book, A.J. Pine definitely has talent for making her readers feel something for her characters. There was too much drama and “will they/won’t they” for me to really fall for If Only, but the way I felt about the characters allowed me finish the book and enjoy it overall.
Posted March 29, 2014
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There are moments in the story when you hate Noah and you feel Jordan's pain as your own. Noah and Jordan spend so much time thinking about the end that in the process they did so much harm to each other.
This story tells us that if you love go for it, don't think about the end, think about the now think about tomorrow, think about a week, a month, a year, but not the end, never the end. This story also tells us that just because we're afraid of loving and losing doesn't mean we should stick with the familiar, just because the familiar feels safe. If the familiar was wrong from the beginning a new land will not make the familiar right.
The only reason this story lost some point with me was because Jordan unintentionally hurt Griffin, who despite being a professed commitment-phobe was actually a really sweet guy. I also did not like that Noah was constantly blowing hot and cold, and he never stopped to think about how his actions hurt Jordan.
So, in conclusion I say read, you will laugh, you will want to cry and you will want to go and hug your meddling best friend. Oh, one more thing remember to live for the now, to hell with the end.
Posted March 28, 2014
I loved it!!!
Jordan is on her way to Aberdeen Scotland where she'll be studying abroad for a year. On her way there, she meets not one but two hot guys. Griffin is serial monogamous who Jordan thinks she should have since her studying abroad is short term she thinks of it as a fantasy. Noah is English major who after an amazing fallen with Jordan leaves a lasting impression.
Jordan has to deal with her feelings and figuring out who she wants to be and who she wants to end up with as well. This story had me laughing, crying and swooning. Noah killed me especially when I thought he finally got it together. There were times when Jordan frustrated me but not to much because I understood she had to go through those situations to grow. I have a small spot for Griffin even though I really didn't want him with Jordan but he grew on me and well my feelings haven't changed for him I love he was willing to change.
It's an amazing debut novel!
Posted March 27, 2014
*shakes fist at A.J.* Darn you A.J. for the havoc you wreaked on my emotions! There were a few moments I thought I was going to have to walk away my heart was being jerked in so many directions! Sigh. I do love books like that! Ok! In all seriousness. I really enjoyed A.J.'s debut novel If Only! Having studied abroad myself and having been a crazy similar situation as Jordan, I could really relate to her feelings of just letting go and wanting to embrace a new side of herself while exploring the unknown.
There is a bit of a love triangle in this one, but it gets resolved about halfway through. My heart was torn because both Noah and Griffin are genuine good guys. Both represent something very different for Jordan and it took her a bit to see the big picture concerning the two.
Let's start with Griffin. I absolutely adored him. He is sweet, flirty, and doesn't hesitate in his want to get to know her. Having both come from the Midwest, the two meet on the train to Aberdeen and this is where Jordan starts to reflect on what her best friend Sam had written in her journal before leaving for her adventure. Sam encourages her best friend to embrace the journey she is embarking on and to LIVE her life without abandon. Jordan has been cautious for too long and Sam wants her to let it all go and not live life according to a plan. Griffin, while a good guy, isn't looking for a long term relationship. He's not a man-whore as Jordan jokingly calls him, but he's only looking to live life day by day. There's nothing wrong with that, especially at his age. However, Jordan has to decide if that's something she's ok with and if she can keep her heart from getting caught up in him. Griffin's character really ended up surprising me due to his actions. There are so many times where he could have earned man-whore status and he didn't.
However, Jordan doesn't just meet Griffin on the train. She also meets Noah, the quieter, but still sweet, guy who carries around his favorite book with him. (RIGHT? *DIES*) You can tell Noah and Griffin are very different in their attitudes immediately. Griffin is more about living life on the cuff and Noah is more reserved. After sharing a soul-shattering kiss on the train, Jordan knows that her life has been irrevocably changed and there's no going back now, as hard as she may try. There's a slight issue though. Noah has a girlfriend. Oooh boy. I really liked Noah. I did. And then I didn't. And then I did. And then I DIDN'T. (But then I did.) That boy gave me emotional whiplash!
I loved Duncan and Elaina. Both of them were great friends to Jordan and definitely provided some comedic relief when we needed it the most. While Jordan is experiencing the opportunity of a lifetime, she is dealing with her feelings for these two guys and what she knows in her heart to be true and what her mind wants to work. Elaina was a good friend to offer her perspective and I like that Jordan had found her own Sam abroad.
I really like the involvement of literature in this one. Literature played a huge role in Jordan's life and I love how Pine kept coming back to it. It wasn't just introduced and then abandoned. Instead, it is woven throughout the novel so perfectly that it really made Jordan's love for books so much more poignant.
For some reason I thought the book would have a little more to do with the study abroad angle and not focus so heavily on the relationship one. I think I would have liked to see a bit more traveling going on and seen some different settings than the main ones we did. I did get a little irritated with Noah's character and while I can understand some of the reasons why he did things, some of them really bothered me. However, I am pleased with the way Pine developed her characters' relationships and concluded the novel. I was very satisfied by the ending. Though I definitely need a book two for a certain someone....
Overall, I feel this was a great debut novel and I am very much looking forward to what A.J. does in the future!
Posted March 26, 2014
An incredibly touching story of a young woman on a journey to find happiness while staying true to herself. Fantastic writing, storyline, and characters make this one a must read! A brilliant beginning to what is sure to be a great career for debut author AJ PineWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2014
A year abroad in Aberdeen, a new school, new people – I really wanted to like If Only, but after reading this roller coaster of confusion and aggravation, I now know that I can’t handle too much drama. Or, more specifically, too much boy drama.
See, this book had a lot to work with: the European setting, two equally-gorgeous love interests, and the smattering of entertaining secondary characters. So why didn’t it work for me? After hours of contemplating, I’m now pretty sure that that’s because the entire book only seemed to revolve around the main character Jordan’s boy problems. It’s been two years since she broke up with her first and only boyfriend so, according to her best friend, that time has practically given her virginity back. And now she’s determined to let go of her inhibitions and her newly-issued v-card to someone she meets in her year in Aberdeen.
Jordan had no idea, though, that her search for, as she called him, Mr. Right Now is going to begin as early as her train ride to Aberdeen. There she meets Griffin whom I fell for at first read. Hot and smart? Sold. Griffin is an unapologizing womanizer who admits that he doesn’t do long-term relationships, and that’s exactly why Jordan thinks he’s exactly who she needs: someone she can have fun with on her year abroad but can break up with a year later, no tears involved. But then, literally minutes later, she gets stuck outside the toilet with Noah.
His grin widens, and I struggle for air at the sight of it, not just because of its beauty but because of what put it there in the first place—a book.
No, I didn’t think Noah was gorgeous enough, but he’s a freaking bibliophile so I might have swooned a bit. Both guys had their setbacks – Noah’s being his freaking girlfriend – but I personally liked Griffin more because he’s honest, if nothing else, so I didn’t appreciate Jordan pining for Noah just because he, what, kissed better than Griffin? Because he had a worn-out copy of The Great Gatsby ready to be read in his backpocket? Sorry, but I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t see Noah’s appeal the way Jordan did; I hate cheaters and cowards, and the way he didn’t break up with his girlfriend but obviously wanted something with Jordan was simply cheating and cowardice. I’d take the serial monogamist any day.
But despite all my rants, I put up with all the boy drama in Jordan's life for the entirety of this book so that's saying something, right? I actually enjoyed it at first, but it got old fast and soon I just wanted to get it over with. The ending also didn't do it for me because I don't think the guy she ended up with was worth all the trouble, but maybe that's just me and my cynicism. Anyway, If Only had an easy humor that made me laugh more times than I could count, and classic literature lovers will surely love the numerous references made in this book.
MY FAVORITE PART was Jordan getting a tattoo if only (lol see what I did there? ;D) because I want one too.
Posted March 25, 2014
Once I started reading it, I could not stop. I loved the characters, I loved the writing, and I love that it makes me want to read some classic novels that I missed out on when I was younger.
I am amazed that this is A.J. Pine's first novel; her writing is exquisite. I hope there is a second, and maybe, if it happens, it will focus on a certain male character who deserves his own happy ending.
I rarely reread books but I will reread this one so I can fall in love with the characters all over again. From laughter to tears, to frustrated sighs, this book was worth all of the emotional commitment I gave it.
Posted March 25, 2014
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really really really enjoyed this book. I was surprised that this was a debut novel. I really didn't expect much, but I was totally drawn into
this story from the beginning. The writing was great and I loved how she weaved classic literature and film into the novel.
It was very well done.
I was initially drawn to this book because of the setting. Aberdeen Scotland. Ask any of my friends and you'll learn that if a book has
anything to do with Scotland then I'm usually all over it. This book starts off with a chance encounter between Jordan Brooks
and Noah Keating. They get locked together in a bathroom on the train to Aberdeen that will begin their year abroad. They make a strong connection. And then after reality sets in.
Noah still has loose ends from an old relationship. So as far as Jordan is concerned they have ended before they ever really started.
If you're all about instant gratification, then this book might drive you bonkers. That's because this novel is all about the slow tortuous
buildup, the random encounters, the longing looks and hand touches. In a word it's delicious. I'm a big fan of angst and this book is the
definition of angst. Between all the angst, the brilliant use of classic literature and films to draw you in and a great cast of secondary
characters, I was in heaven. This book was a pleasant surprise and I really enjoyed it. The only disclaimer that I have is that if you
haven't read or seen the movie A Room With a View, then this book might spoil some of that a bit for you. I am in the camp of have not
read or seen the movie and it didn't bother me but if spoilers bother you, then that might be the only drawback.
Otherwise, I'd definitely recommend this book and look forward to more from this author.
Posted March 24, 2014
This was my first book that I've read by AJ Pine and it won't be the last. I love her writing style, and the way she can write out these amazing characters.
We meet Jordan while she's on a train traveling to Aberdeen University. While on the train, she meets Griffin, who happens to sit down beside her and starts up a conversation. She learns that Griffin is a man-whore. But he's the worst kind of man- whore, he has a heart. He tells her he isn't Mr. Right, he's Mr. Right now.
Jordan runs off to the loo, and after arriving she finds it occupied. She is standing outside the door when it opens and the occupant lands in her face. After the mishap, she comes back out of the loo to find that same boy just outside the door. It seems as though the doors to get back in the train car to their seats are jammed.
After he starts to have a panic attack she starts up a conversation and they realize they have a strong reaction to each other. Noah and Jordan hit it off while being stuck in that cubby area, and share a life-altering kids. Then Noah gets a text message on his phone and the spell is broken.
Jordan goes back to her seat with Griffin. They decide since they already know each other, they should do the tour together the next day. Once they arrive Jordan comes face to face with Noah, and his girlfriend. Yep....you saw that right girlfriend. Jordan and Griffin start a relationship, one that is easy and no commitments, just go with the flow type relationship.
Noah confuses Jordan, he seems to want her and tries to explain his situation with her but Jordan doesn't want to hear it. She is hurt that the kiss meant something to her and it didn't him. We learn quickly that things are not always what they seem.
They both do stupid things to hurt each other, but they can't seem to stay away.
I am so glad I decided to join this review tour. This book touched everything I Love in a book. It had romance, angst, the sexy book boyfriends, and a heroine who I liked. Grab this one babes! You won't be sorry that you did!
Posted March 24, 2014
I adore AJ's characters, her literary nerdiness, and the Scotland setting! She totally sucks you in to Jordan and Griffin's romance, and the angst makes the Happily Ever After even better!! These are the sort of characters you get invested in and think about even after you've finished their story.
Brilliant debut, and I can't wait to pick up her next book!
Posted March 24, 2014
I love a book that has angst, misunderstandings/lack of communication and the back-and-forth of a love triangle or complicated relationships as much as the next person, but this one was just a little over the top for me. It quite literally was always SOMETHING with these characters. It was exhausting. But it wasn’t all bad. I really did enjoy the book, I just didn’t love it.
We meet Jordan as she’s on a train to Scotland. We don’t know why she’s heading there. We just know she’s going there alone and her friend has encouraged her to hook up with someone while she’s there because it’s been way, way too long since she’s been with a guy. She meets two guys on the train, Griffin and Noah. Griffin’s attractive, but she thinks he’s probably a player, yet she’s still tempted by him. She and Noah share an intense moment (with kissing!), but it’s ruined when she realizes he clearly has someone else in his life. After arriving at school in Scotland, she realizes that both Griffin and Noah are attending the same school, and she was correct – Noah has a girlfriend who is there with him. It’s all very complicated and the actions of each character only make it more so.
Griffin likes Jordan. Jordan likes Noah. Noah is dating Hailey, but is attracted to Jordan. Jordan won’t start up anything serious because they’re all only there for such a short period of time. But that still doesn’t stop her from having a little bit of fun. And a lot of angsty drama. It wore me out. I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to happen. Griffin and Noah were both good guys and Jordan definitely had chemistry with both of them. Things were just complicated. As tiring as it all was, it was all realistic. From the dialogue to the characters to the friendship to the setting, it felt like it could be happening on any college campus on the planet.
There were a lot of characters in this book. Some were better and more complex than others. Some were more likable than others. Jordan was just ok for me, but I can’t really pinpoint why she wasn’t more. She was likable enough and I could feel her confusion when it came to the boys. I could see why she would be attracted to both of them. I just wanted her to step up and say how she felt. All of the characters needed to do more of that. I adored Griffin and was more than a little annoyed when he disappeared partway through the book. You’ll have to see for yourself if he comes back. Noah was, without a doubt, swoony. He was complicated and had a difficult time making up his mind, too. The only character in this book that I felt truly ever spoke her mind, was Jordan’s roommate Elaina. I loved this girl. She was sassy, she was meddlesome, but it all came from a good place.
I’ve mentioned the angst a couple times. I may have thought it was overdone, but others didn’t feel the same way, so if you’re a fan of contemporary romances, you should check this one out and decide for yourself. If you enjoy instant gratification, this won’t be your type of book at all. If Only is all about the slow burn that I usually love so much, and it’s not that I didn’t love that aspect of the book, it was all the other things that brought it down a bit for me. I will say the ending left me giddy. The premise of this book was excellent, and while I think it got a little off-track partway through, it recovered nicely and ended on a high and satisfying note. Truth be told, this is probably more of a 3.5 star book, but if you read my reviews with any regularity, you know I don’t give half stars. :)
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Posted April 6, 2014
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Posted April 2, 2014
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