I'm excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Ali Dean's Pepped Up Series. Below you will find a review for both the first and second books in the series, Pepped Up, and All Pepped Up. In case you haven't read the first book, I tried my best to avoid any spoilers in my review of book 2. Additionally, check out the giveaway!
Pepped Up (Pepper Jones #1) by Ali Dean
Release Date: August 28, 2013
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.
Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town -- and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).
That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town. When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.
I had never heard of this series prior to signing up for the blog tour, but I am very happy to have found it. This is such a cute, fun, and honest story. Just the kind of the book that makes a great summer read.
I loved Pepper as the main protagonist. She's an athlete who has discipline, pushing herself toward her running goals for her team. She's the girl next door that everyone loves. She's humble, fiery, and sweet all rolled into one. I loved reading the story from her point of view.
Her struggle between Jace and Ryan was so understandable. On the one hand you've got the guy she's always loved who is her best friend, Jace. This is a great guy who has some bad things going on in the background, but who cherishes his relationship with Pepper, while still holding her at a distance. Ryan is a great guy who starts coming to Pepper's school and falls in with her in such an easy, comfortable way. Both guys are great, and if I were in her shoes, it would be hard to pick.
This story was romantic and sweet, with some serious issues mixed in. It had great pacing that had me reading quickly and completely engrossed.
All Pepped Up (Pepper Jones #2) by Ali Dean
Release Date: July 10, 2014
Pepper Jones knew that being Jace Wilder’s girlfriend wouldn’t be simple. But she didn’t predict just how many complications would arise from his past. Jealous girls? That she expected. Family secrets? Not so much. At least Pepper can always hit the trails to clear her head… except when it comes to racing. The high expectations from her phenomenal cross country season haunt her, and she can’t seem to get psyched up for track season. Pepper’s junior year at Brockton Public is full of challenges on and off the track, but she’s not afraid to face them.
The second book in the Pepper Jones series has stepped this up considerably. As you can probably tell from the summary, Pepper is with Jace, but not everything is perfect.
Pepper finds out exactly what she's made of when she has to face the jealousy of Jace's prior hookups. And when I say jealousy, I don't just mean girls standing on the sidelines giving her the stink-eye jealousy. I'm talking jealous girls who do some pretty awful things to try to ruin her happiness. Who wouldn't have a hard time with trust with some of the stuff that's pulled on her.
Jace has his own issues to deal with as well, as something new pops into his life to turn things on their ear. He's a great guy though, his feelings for Pepper are so strong, and he's so protective of her that you just want to swoon at him. He'll probably go in my book boyfriend list.
There was some great internal conflict for Pepper in this series, in addition to what's taking place around her. For someone who has always been so confident and sure of what she wants, there are several things that have shaken her up and tested her pretty deeply. I loved watching how she handles these things.
Just as with the first book, it was a very fast read. It was cute, with some depth, entertaining and engrossing. I'll definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series to see what happens next!
About the Author
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband, twin babies, and golden retriever. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.
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