Tuesday, July 2, 2013

REVIEW: By Referral Only (Whitman University #2) by Lyla Payne

Title/Series: By Referral Only | Whitman University #2
Author: Lyla Payne
Publisher: Lyla Payne
Published: July 1st 2013
Format: eBook
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: ARC in exchange for an honest review
★★★ (3/5) Stars!!

Lyla Payne | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

After being unceremoniously dumped freshman year because of her family’s “new money” status, Ruby Cotton has taken care not to put her heart on the line. No matter how enticing Emilie and Quinn make it look, relationships are scary and hard—while a string of flings is easy and fun. That’s what Ruby wants. Easy and fun. The only problem is, when it comes to satisfaction in the sack, most of the boys at Whitman are nothing but pretty window dressing and false advertising.

Ruby takes it upon herself to make campus life more fulfilling, creating a referral database that allows female students to rate their sexual experiences, thereby informing girls of what they’re getting into before agreeing to a date.

When her acting partner, Liam Greene, finally shows some interest, Ruby figures she won’t need to utilize the helpful gossip. He’s handsome, fun, and most importantly, not a guy she’d ever fall for hard enough to let him break her heart.

Not only that, but dating Liam gives Ruby the perfect excuse to say no to Cole Stuart.

As a star swimmer and heir to honest-to-God Scottish royalty, Cole sits at the top of Whitman’s A-list—but he’s also the lowest rated referral on Ruby’s website. The ratings make rejecting his repeated requests for a date a no-brainer, but her real reason for avoiding Cole runs deeper than a string of unsatisfied exes.

He’s gorgeous, he oozes sweetness and charm, and the electricity between them could power half of Whitman, but Ruby knows it will only last until his family or friends convince him she’s not good enough.

Before she knows it she’s falling anyway, waiting for the other shoe to drop but clinging to a tentative hope that Cole might be as different as he seems. When the secret behind his low ratings comes to light, that hope is torn apart, and Ruby wonders if she was right to give him her heart…and whether she has the strength to let him keep it.

I received a copy of this book from Kelly from InkSlingerPR for a By Referral Only book launch. It in no way sways my review. I knew I wanted to read this book when I first read the blurb. It's such a funny and interesting idea. I mean come on, a referral website for guys you've dated, and I'm using the term dated loosely... It wasn't until delving deep into this book that I grasped just how, though well intentioned, problematic this idea is.

As a woman, I'll be the first to admit, we tend to live and think and rule ourselves through our emotions. Some of you may argue me on that and that's fine but the majority would hopefully be honest and agree with me. So the idea of doing something like this objectively just doesn't seem viable. For a lot of us, a simple no attachment relationship just isn't possible. It's hard for us to not put emotions into the mix.  How many of us after a crappy experience with a guy, even if the sex was mind blowing, would sit down and give an objective rating to him? I'll be honest probably not me.

I wasn't 100% into this book though. Honestly Ruby really grated on me. Money and status was like an obsession with her. And for someone who hated the fact that she felt like others were judging her and the fact that her family was "new money" she sure was extremely judgmental herself. I don't think there was a moment in the entire book where she wasn't obsessing over money and status and how backwoods she assumed everyone thought was. It made it very difficult for me to like and sympathize with her. Eventually I got used to it and just sort of blanked it out because the rest of the story was worth it.

Cole Stuart, wow. He was worth the entire book alone. I've never really had a thing for Scottish men but I'm making an exception for him :D

The Accent
My drawers turned into water droplets and then disappeared, just like Ginny said.

Yeah I can see that! Though he has the lowest rating on the site, there's something deeper there to be discovered and it's heartbreaking. But he holds himself back from girls for a very good reason, in his eyes. 

Like I said I did struggled with this book at first because of my feelings for Ruby, but I think my turning point was getting to know Cole more, and what truly turned the tables for me was meeting his family. His sister and twin brothers. They made a huge impact on my liking of this book. They are so funny and caring and the whole dynamic was fun to read.

Overall I enjoyed this book. It was a fun idea and equally fun to read. Thanks to KP for including me in the book launch! :)

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  1. Jessica MangicaroJuly 2, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    Thanks for the honest review Sheri! It is hard to love a book when your MC is not entirely likeable. I'm glad Cole did it for you though. Scottish men usually do for me. :D

  2. Hmmm I've had a thing for Scottish men ever since I read Outlander.

  3. Such a strange concept! I know I would slate them no matter what! They are in your past for a reason and rarely a good one. I'm kinda curious to see how its handled in the book.