Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Blog Tour: If Only by A.J. Pine {Review+Giveaway}

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Welcome to my stop on the If Only blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours!
Today I am excited to share my review as well as a giveaway with you all!

If Only
   by: A.J. Pine

Publication Date:  March 24, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 342 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.

It's been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it's been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.

Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.

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.

*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!
AJ writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend those hearts with a happily ever after…maybe. The first book she wrote was YA, but now she’s two-timing her first love Pine4BWwith NA. She’s always in the middle of reading two to three books, adores online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes), and she still loves vampires, whether it’s Eric Northman or the Salvatore brothers. When she’s not writing, AJ is sneaking off to her day job as a high school English teacher or hanging with her husband and kids in the Chicago burbs.

AJ’s debut NA novel, IF ONLY, releases with Entangled’s Embrace line on March 24!

Representation: Courtney Miller-Callihan at SJGA.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:


Week One:

3/24/2014- Auggie-TalkReview

3/24/2014- Ticket to AnywhereGuest Post

3/25/2014- Taking It One Book at a TimeReview

3/25/2014- Curling Up With A Good Book- Excerpt

3/26/2014- Kate's Tales of Books and BandsGuest Post

3/27/2014- Lovin' Los LibrosReview

3/27/2014- FicWishesGuest Post

3/28/2014- Reviews By MollyReview

3/28/2014- YA Story Teller- Interview


Week Two:

3/31/2014- BibliojunkiesExcerpt

4/1/2014- LeAnn's Book ReviewsReview

4/1/2014- Step Into FictionExcerpt

4/2/2014- The Phantom ParagrapherReview

4/3/2014- Books and SwoonsReview

4/3/2014- Creating SerenityGuest Post

4/4/2014- Kindle and MeReview

4/4/2014- Burning Impossibly BrightGuest Post


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  1. Oh this sounds like a good one and I love when a triangle is done right. Definitely have to check this book out. Great review!

    1. Thanks Teresa! You know me and love triangles! I'm the same way! They have to be done right!


  3. Ha! I'm actually reading a book right now that's making me feel this exact same way, and enjoying it. I'm glad you liked If Only so much, Jessica!

    1. Thanks Andrea! When I can enjoy a book that does that to me, it's definitely well done!

  4. Excellent review! I can't wait to read it myself!

    1. Thanks Chelsea! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

  5. I love a book that jerks the emotions!! And though I'm not a fan of the love triangle, glad to read this one wasn't bad! I definitely want to read this one! Lovely review!! :D

    1. Same here Magen! I've been in need of an emotional ride lately! LOL


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