Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins ~ Review

Source:  received an eBook copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Stir Me Up
Release Date: 10/01/13
Harlequin Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
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….

My Thoughts:

2 stars - Loved the premise but this one just didn't work for me.

First Impression...I do love that cover.  I may be very partial to Pepe and Stella covers, though.  But really, it was the premise of this one that captured my attention.  It had a different flavor that was interesting.  I loved the idea of a recovering marine and a girl trying to figure out her life combining to have sparks.

The Story... I wanted to like it.  I tried to like it.  I didn't like it.  Things didn't make sense to me.  Decision made or events happen that would come out of nowhere made the story unconvincing.  Weeks would go by and there would be a sentence of summary.  That bugged me.  Showing not telling would have been better.  And the whole falling for another guy while you have a boyfriend thing?  It has to be done just right.  It wasn't, in my opinion.

The Characters... I struggled here a lot.  I don't think I really got Cami.  Her relationship with Luke was a puzzle to me that just didn't make sense.  I wanted to know Luke a little better and that never happened.  He felt flat and because she claimed to love him, she didn't make sense to me either.  She seemed more childish than a high school senior should be.  She often acted like my 8th grade students.  I loved that she was so into cooking.  It may have been the part of her I liked the most.  Her relationship with her dad was strange.  I got that he wanted more for her than being a chef but I found him annoying.  I did like Julian after he got over being a jerk and he was so a jerk at the beginning.  I get it.  He was hurt and recovering.  It sucked big time.  Once we got through that stage, I liked him.  He was concerned about Cami and wanted her to live her dream.  I like that he wanted her to figure out her own life. 

The Writing... This is the part I had the most problems with and it pains me so much to write about it.  But I can only tell you how I felt about the experience of reading this book.  The story was jarring to me.  The transitions clumsy and confusing.  I found myself back tracking trying to understand what just happened.  Having to read on and figure it out from context. 

Could I put it down...Yeah and I did.  I read half and then put it down.  I didn't know if I would finish it.  Honestly, the only reason I decided to finish it was the praise from JLA that you can read at the bottom of this review.  I thought if she loved it so much, I must be missing something.  So, I finished.  I will say that towards the 2/3 mark, there was a part that I enjoyed more.  But then things were back to the same style and I was frustrated all over again.  I would put it down and glare at it.  Finally, I just sped read the rest.

In the end...This book frustrated me.  I didn't enjoy it.  I was disappointed that the story wasn't better.  I still love the premise.  It seems so promising.  But I couldn't get past the jarring writing style and the annoying characters.  Not my taste.

Others disagree.  You can see some pretty high praise below from some people that I really respect.  I've also added a couple links to other reviews from people who liked the book. 

Praise for Stir Me Up:

"Fun, steamy, and leaves you hungry for more. Sabrina Elkins nails the vulnerability of becoming an adult and the choices that come with growing up." —Katie McGarry, author of Dare You To

"Cami's slow burn for a wounded hero will rivet readers. I seriously loved this book." —Jennifer Echols, author of Dirty Little Secret

"This book is one of my favorite young adult contemporaries. Not only does it feature a hot romance, it's also very meaningful and well, you just have to read it and see." —#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

Other reviews that disagree:

About the Author
I am a former journalist who worked for the Los Angeles Daily Newsand other newspapers in the greater Los Angeles area. Prior to this I worked in advertising, writing ad copy for corporate travel accounts and major motion pictures. My first job out of college was as an administrative assistant to an executive chef and a food & beverage director at a Four Seasons hotel. I also spent some time working as a prep cook for Spago in Beverly Hills.

I received my Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. While in graduate school, I had the privilege of studying fiction writing under renowned author Hubert Selby, Jr., and comedy writing under famed comedian Shelley Berman. I am a past participant of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Summer Writing Workshop.

Raised in the woods of Vermont, I now live in the greater Los Angeles area with my husband and three children. STIR ME UP is my first novel.


  1. This looks good and has gotten so many good reviews. I don't like when time passes with only a short summary to let me know.
    Good review, pal.

  2. Sorry this one didn't work for you. :( Nice review.