Monday, January 26, 2015

Payback is Sweet Blog Tour: Review

Today, we are happy to kick off the blog tour for Kristy Centeno's new book, Payback is Sweet!

Payback is Sweet
Title: Payback is Sweet (Love Gamble #1)
Author: Kristy Centeno
Date of Publication: August 21, 2014
Genre: contemporary NA romance

Janessa Rowe is a twenty one year old college girl with little respect for other people. She’s a rich, spoiled brat of a girl who gets her kicks out of humiliating others. When she discovers that her boyfriend of three years has in fact engaged in a physical relationship with someone else, Janessa will stop at nothing to get a little payback. Even if that means using her new rival’s disgruntled fiancée to get what she wants. Dakota Blackwater is everything Janessa is not. He’s kind, sweet, gentle, and a stand-up guy all in all, but when his girlfriend’s betrayal hurts more than his pride, he agrees to take part in a plan that will test both their self-restraints and their feelings for one another.

Problems arise, however, when Janessa’s interest for Dakota shifts from being a pawn to achieve her ultimate goal, to potential lover. After having her heart broken in the past, the last thing she wants is to get involved in matters of the heart, but how can she follow through with her plan when the more time she spends with Dakota, the less she cares about getting payback? Sooner rather than later they are forced to confront the reality that their game has slowly transformed into something else and that what seemed like a scheme to exact revenge, now comprises both their hearts in ways neither of them anticipated.

When I heard Kristy Centeno was releasing a new book, I scrambled to sign up for this blog tour!  I was recently introduced to Kristy a few months back, when I received an ARC of her book Keeper of the Innocents, the second book in The Keeper Witches Series.  After devouring the prequel, Keeper of the Lost Souls and then reading Keeper of the Innocents in almost one sitting, I knew I had found a new favorite author.  Kristy’s writing is fun, exciting, and extremely hard to put down!
That being said, I expected a lot from Payback is Sweet, and Kristy did not disappoint whatsoever with this one.  Admittedly, I was a little worried at first to see if I would enjoy her writing in another genre just as much as I did when reading her other two books.  Payback is Sweet is a NA romance novel, as opposed to her Keeper Witches Series, which are YA fantasy.  Also, this was only my second time reading anything NA!  It is a relatively new genre for me, and so far I’ve been loving it!
When I began reading Payback is Sweet, I hated the main character Janessa.  I almost want to believe Kristy wrote her this way, so that the reader would hate her character originally!  It was hard not to! She’s full of herself, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her.  There was more than one line in the book where Janessa openly admits to having it all (think good looks and lots of daddy’s money).  One of my favorite parts about this book was the character development!  I know I’ve talked about character development in my reviews before, but it’s something that not all authors can get quite right, and it’s honestly one of my favorite aspects of reading.  I love to see the characters grow and learn from their mistakes!  As Janessa goes through her breakup, and learns to open up to someone again, some of that attitude is replaced with some modesty.  Whether it’s the influence of a new boy in her life, or just her growing up in general I can’t tell, (you’ll have to read it for yourself and let me know what you think it is!) but I loved watching the progression of this throughout the book.  Although she didn’t do a complete 180, part of loving Janessa means laughing at her not so humble behavior at times, and by the end of the book I was totally in love with her character!  You got to give it to the girl for having extreme confidence in herself!  I think at times we all wish we could have that quality!
One of my other favorite parts of this book was the diversity.  One of the main characters, Dakota Blackwater, is from a reservation where he grew up most of his life.  Payback is Sweet addresses some of the problems many children from reservations face, when leaving their homes to go to college or find a job.  I’ve read very few books in the past that have addressed these issues or included characters from a reservation, and I’m extremely glad Kristy chose to do so with this book!  
 Although it goes without saying, NA is an adult genre, so expect some steamy scenes in this book!  I’ve read some complaints about NA recently, where people mentioned the genre is pretty racy, even going so far as to compare it to 50 shades.  This is NOT true of all books in this genre, despite what is being said at the moment. It comes with the terriroty though.  What’s awesome about moving from YA to NA is that it gives authors the freedom to push the boundaries more, and expand on their characters’ relationships.  I think NA was the perfect genre for this book to reach it’s potential.  Payback is Sweet explores many of the issues people face after getting out of a messy breakup, and where to go from there.  It also looks at how people learn to trust again, after being cheated on.  I don’t believe YA would have been the right genre for the topics addressed in this book, and had Kristy choose to write this book for a YA audience, I don’t think I would have loved it as much as I did!  All in all, I flew right through this one, and enjoyed every minute of it!  With a rating scale using cows, I had to give this a 4, but it’s closer to a 4.5 in all honesty!  This is a great read, and if you’re new to NA or just looking for a good romance read in general, I highly suggest this one!  Kristy has outdone herself once again!



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