Tani Hanes was born in Japan, raised in California, and currently resides in New York City. She’s created quite an impressive debut series which is rapidly turning heads. She’s proving to the world that independent authors are fully capable of professionally presented, well- polished, clever, and creative productivity.
The first book in the series was released in October 2016, and the following six have been released consecutively since then. They range in size, most being just under three hundred pages. I love the story put together here. Here are my reviews for the first three books in the series (anything more than that would have been a novel in its own). But, know that I have read them all, and each is a unique and beautiful edition to the life story of the main character, Aileen Foster.
Living In The Shallows (UK Crush #1), by Tani Hanes
New Adult Romance
Length: 295 pages
Living in the Shallows is a very charismatic and engaging start to the young adult series UK Crush. One of the main reasons I liked it as much as I did is because the main character, Aileen has so many admirable qualities. I feel like in a way it actually sets a great example for young adult readers. This isn’t your regular follow the band to a party, and be a groupie kind of story. It’s far from it. Aileen is humble, educated, motivated, independent, and has phenomenal work ethic. Plus, she’s full of self-respect and is dedicated to her future.
When Aileen takes a job as a translator in Japan, she goes into the adventure completely unaware of the details. The fact that she will be working one on one constantly (day and night) with one of the hottest boy bands ever, is understandably overwhelming. These boys are perfect, in practically every way. Each one is a young girl’s dream, completely gorgeous and unique. Lucky for Aileen, they are actually a class act crew behind closed doors. They treat her like family, and their friendly up close and personal qualities just suck her right in. At one point she actually jokes around and refers to herself as their puppy, which totally fits.
Throughout the duration of the job, Aileen goes through a complete rollercoaster of emotion. (Which is absolutely felt as the reader, wow!) She goes from being shy and self-isolated, to completely comfortable in group hugs, sleep/movie cuddles, getting innocently tossed around from lap to lap at dinners and in travel.
Aside from her language mastery, she is also very talented in swimming and piano. Before slipping effortlessly and quickly into the groove of the boy’s lifestyle and boundary- less traits, she was reserved and embarrassed on display. With the aid of their lack of privacy and their enthusiastic support she is able to overcome much of her awkward privacy issues.
This book also has quite a love story. It really is a complete package (especially for young women, who may have emotional reservation issues). The boy’s fall completely head over heels for Aileen. So much so that it causes quite a bit of tension in certain areas, which really sucks for them because otherwise they have always gotten along. There is a bit of testosterone-ial drama, and it keeps the story rolling with emotion.
I love the way Aileen handles their affection, and the ultimate choices she makes in the end!
Diving Deep (UK Crush #2), by Tani Hanes
New Adult Romance
Length: 258 pages
Diving Deep is quite a hot love story! In the relationship department, Theo’s (Teddy) communication skills with Aileen (birdie, or even Tinker Bell) are lacking at first. He made me so mad. Ultimately, he came to his senses. But, the simple fact that he handled her and life the way he did pretty much turned me completely off to him. I can’t even believe Tink put up with his crap the way she did. I get that it’s love and that you do crazy things in the name of it, but wow.
So, now that I’m done with my short little rant and rave, let me tell you what I did love about this book. In some ways it redeemed my anger, and upon finishing, I was still very much looking forward to the next books in the series.
The writing is great. At times, it’s a little repetitive (which normally I don’t particularly care for), but it actually works with Aileen and her story, as it really drills the emotions into your soul. I liked that even though they are stupid at communicating their problems, it’s real. Real couples in real life do often suck at communication, especially when they’re new at deep long-term relationships.
In a way this book kind of forced me to put my own voice-tress altercation tendencies aside, and make an attempt to realize that not everyone is so outspoken with their problems in a relationship. More often than not people do let assumptions ruin their lives without actually talking out their problems and fixing things together. Just because I personally get irritated by it, doesn’t mean that the struggle isn’t real.
As far as diving deep goes, I liked it. I didn’t love it as much as the first book, but I do feel involved. I feel like I’m there, and now a part of Aileen’s life so I can’t wait to see what the next couple of books bring about. I have my bets!
Learning To Fly (UK Crush #3), by Tani Hanes
New Adult Romance
Length: 180 pages
In comparison to the first two books in the UK Crush series, I found Learning to Fly to be comfortable. There’s a lot of love in this book. It also had two of the biggest milestones in Aileen’s life, which is awesome. To make it even better, they happen one right after the other, making one heck of an epic week at the end of the book!
I love that Aileen (Tink) was able to get everything straightened out with her classical music career, especially after the near life- threatening sabotage that was put in place in Diving Deep. Tink pulled herself back up, spent the perfect amount of time with her original professor and wound up nailing her performance in an audition of a lifetime. She and Theo (Teddy) spent a few very romantic weeks together in New York City, which was very much a dream come true for her. I love Aileen’s humble approach at life and in her travels. I also really liked that they did so many touristy things together.
Although everything about this book, including the ending, was absolutely predictable– it was still overflowing with juicy bedroom scenes and refreshingly normal relationship situations. They attend famous events together as a regular couple. As a whole I thought this particular book was cute. Their public affection for each other is beautiful, and their private time is heart thumping hot hot hot!