The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

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Title & Author: The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegen Books/May 10, 2016

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By the Author: The After Girls

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.

Local teen convict released early.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

“Everything is not what you think.”

Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?

“You’re the one person who believes in me.”

Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

First let me start off by saying this is a summer based book and if you don’t know by now, I am obsessed with summer themed books. Leah Konen’s other YA book, The After Girls, has also been on my TBR list (as well as my bookshelf) for a while now and I definitely need to start reading it. The Last Time We Were Us was so, so good. It had me feeling so many mixed emotions throughout the book and had me racing through the pages at the end to see what had happened.

The romance in The Last Time We Were Us was insanely intense. I had no idea what was going to happen and definitely wasn’t expecting the ending to play out like it had. I can’t say I was shocked, but I also feel like some of the characters got what they had been asking for throughout the book. The book is also packed full of drama between multiple characters which kept it entertaining as well as kept me sucked into the book turning page after page. The book itself was longer than most I’ve read lately (almost 400 pages) but I was hooked and breezed through it.

I really liked the characters in The Last Time We Were Us. I have to admit though my favorite character was Jason Sullivan and I can’t really say why he was without giving anything away. I had mixed feelings about the main character Liz. There were times when I liked her and was rooting for her and other times when I wish I could have reached in the pages and smacked her. Innis Taylor was quite the character, once again can’t say much about him without giving things away. Liz’s friend MacKenzie was alright. She had a few good friend moments, but I felt like a majority of the time she was immature and over reacted to certain situations.

Overall if you’re into young adult contemporary and/or romance I definitely think you’d enjoy this book. It’s one of the better books I have read in 2016, it’s in my top 10 as of now. I could easily see this as a book I’d reread again in the future.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout Tour

book tour

Hello, I Love You

Title & Author: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Griffin/2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary, YA Music

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Other Books by Katie M. Stout: Debut Book!

My Rating: 5hearts

About the Book

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

Buy Links

Amazon I Barnes and Noble I Books-A-Million

IndieBound I iBooks

About the Author

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Katie M. Stout is from Atlanta, Georgia, and works for an international charity that sends her to fun places like Spain and Singapore. When she’s not writing, you can find her drinking an unhealthy amount of chai tea and listening to Girls’ Generation, Teen Top, and all her other favorite K-pop tunes.

Katie’s Social Media

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7265923.Katie_M_Stout

Website: http://one-page-reviews.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katiemstout

Tumblr: http://katiemwrites.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/katiemstout/

My Review

Hello, I Love You was exactly what I had been needing in terms of a good book lately. I would catch myself with a big smile on my face as I read. I loved absolutely every word from the first page to the last page of this book. Katie M. Stout opened my eyes to new things such as KPOP, Korean drama, and customs of South Korea. I never ever imagined wanting to travel to South Korea, but after reading Hello, I Love You, Seoul is now in my top 10 places I’d like to travel to internationally.

I love books that take place at boarding schools and the international boarding school that Grace attends in Hello, I Love You made me incredibly envious because it sounded amazing. I was really envious of Grace throughout the entire book of everything she was able to do and experience. The closest experience I got to Grace’s was competing in American University’s Model United Nations Conference in Washington DC every year and those extended weekends were the highlights of my high school years.

I liked every single character from the book. They all had different personalities, but they all fit so perfectly together that it really made the book as good as it was. Grace was the easiest to relate to. She was close minded at times in the beginning of the book, but as it went on she was caring, kind and thoughtful. Sophie was the perfect best friend and roommate. She made sure to always include Grace in everything that she was doing and was always in a good, happy mood. The three boys of Eden, Jason, Tae Hwa, and Yoon Jae, were all interesting characters to say the least. Tae Hwa was a perfect match for Sophie. He wasn’t an in-depth character, but he seemed kind, sweet and generally caring towards Sophie. Yoon Jae was just as sweet. He made it clear who he had feelings for and I was kind of rooting for him although I knew it most likely wasn’t going to work out. Jason annoyed me in the beginning with his arrogant attitude but throughout the book he grew on me. He would let the real him shine through occasionally and when those moments came up, it is when he grew on me.

Throughout the book Grace is also dealing with drama back home in Tennessee. While the author brings in some characters from home like Grace’s mom and her younger sister Jane, the true story of what she is running from does not come out until the end. I was surprised by the reality of the situation and didn’t see it coming at all. Once it was out in the open, things that Grace hinted at or mentioned earlier in the book clicked into place and made sense.

Hello, I Love You is the perfect young adult romance book to bring along in your beach tote or to the pool. Although there’s nearly 300 pages, it will go by so quickly because you will not be able to put it down. The story and the characters are original and unlike other young adult books I have read before. If you like young adult romance or contemporary or you are into KPOP, this is the perfect book to add to your TBR list. For her debut book, Katie M. Stout totally kicked ass with Hello, I Love You and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel to see where the characters are.

Author’s Fan Casting

For part of my post for the tour, I chose to post Katie M. Stout’s dream cast for her book, Hello, I Love You. Here is what she had to say and who she picked for the main characters. 

I had a ton of fun fancasting my characters! Some of them were casted very early on in my brain while I was writing – I actually had two singers in mind while I was writing the rough draft of the book!

While these are who the characters look like in my head, I love hearing other people’s thoughts.  or I’d love to hear who you think Grace, Jason, Sophie, and everyone else looks like, so hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr with your picks!

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Grace – Lily James

I’m a Lily James fan in general. (I mean, how can you not love her as Cinderella?!) Plus, I think she has the perfect hair for Grace. And girl’s got attitude, which totally fits my sassy, broken protagonist.

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Jason – Jung Yonghwa

Yonghwa was actually the first character I casted in my head. I knew while I was still rough drafting that he was who Jason looked like. Actually, if you’ve ever seen the Korean drama Heartstrings, you may recognize some of the outfits I describe Jason wearing as ones he wore in that drama. I just loved those sweaters and colorful shoes so much!

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Sophie – IU

Sophie is another character I knew early on who I would cast. IU has been one of my favorite KPOP singers since I saw her in the drama Dream High, and I think she perfectly embodies Sophie’s sweetness and charm.

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Yoon Jae – Ok Taecyeon

I wanted Yoon Jae to be really striking, where you turn your head when he walks by. I also wanted him to have a little bit of a baby face. Really, there’s no one else I could choose for him besides Taecyeon, who’s both super hot and super cute. And really, he’s perfect for the character I would have chosen to date if I were Grace.

Tae Hwa – Seungri

Seungri is one of the hottest guys in KPOP, I think (despite his scandals). And I had to choose someone great for Sophie, who’s probably my favorite character in the whole book. Really, I maybe had too much fun looking for good pictures of him…

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtist

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Title & Author: The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

Publisher/Year: Disney-Hyperion/September 8,2015

Genre: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books by Author: Debut Book!

Rating: 5hearts

 

What This Book Is About

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met. Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

When I received The One Thing in the mail, I had forgotten that I had requested to read and review it. Upon reading the back of the book, I wondered why I had because it didn’t seem like a book that would interest me. I wasn’t reading anything else at the time and since I had agreed to both read and review it, I started it. I was instantly hooked from the first chapter. I fell in love with the book and the characters as every page went on. I could only kick myself for all of my original thoughts.

I had never read a book before where one of the main characters had a disability like being blind. Now looking back, most characters in books are in a way pretty flawless. Sure they have their small issues and face difficult choices, but it was eye opening in a way to go through the story through the perspective of someone who cannot see all the things I can. It also made me think of stuff I had never thought of before and I enjoy reading books that make me think outside of my comfort zone.

I loved the main characters, Maggie, Ben, and Mason. As each chapter ended, my love for them only grew. Maggie had her whole life planned out until losing her sight to meningitis. She had to learn how to do so many simple everyday tasks all over again, this time not being able to see what she was doing as she was doing it. She had a wicked sense of humor and I loved how sarcastic she could be. Ben was such a happy, positive kid even though the odds have been against him in life. He always looks at the bright side and doesn’t let anything stop him from doing what he wants and when he wants to do it. Mason was moody and rude, but you could tell there was something deeper in him and when his true colors showed, I was swooning as hard as Maggie.

The one thing I wasn’t too fond of, but it did not change my rating or love for the book, was why Maggie could see Ben. I just felt like it was expected, yet I was hoping the whole time that’s what it wouldn’t end up being. I did, and still do, classify The One Thing as a contemporary or realistic fiction novel, but question my choice of genre because of this reason. Like I said though, it didn’t change my rating or the way I feel about this book in anyway.

If you’re looking for a new book to read in the fall, The One Thing is definitely a book I’d recommend. If you have a 2015 TBR list, seriously add The One Thing to it and read it before 2015 is over. This book is in my top books of 2015 list so far and I anticipate it staying there until the end of the year. It just warms your heart that it is impossible not to enjoy every word of it.

’89 Walls by Katie Pierson Book Tour!

book tour

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Title & Author: ’89 Walls by Katie Pierson89WallsCover

Publisher: Wise Ink

Release Date: June 5, 2015

Format & Pages: Paperback & 240

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Other Books By Katie Pierson: Debut Book!

My Rating: 4hearts

SYNOPSIS

College is not in the cards for Seth. He spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity. 

Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class makes her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite.

Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.

BOOK EXCERPT

Quinn used the three extra minutes before class that day to turn in her cap-and-gown order form at the office. She made sure no one was looking before skipping down the marble staircase like a little kid. She watched her light-green sundress rise and settle with each bounce. The translucent afternoon sun had managed to warm the foyer by the entrance doors as if spring might actually stick. A tiny breeze jiggled the branches of the narrow pine trees framing the building’s entrance. The stretch of blue sky spanning the transom window reassured her, like it was telling her that years of self-conscious high school angst were almost over.

Only Trish understood how crucial Quinn’s façade of success was to the fact of it. As long as she stuck to the script—Take the advanced placement classes. Study. Join the debate team. Perform.—she could hold herself together. She could no more drop the script than let her bones dissolve.

Quinn hated the debate team.

She stomped on the final step. As she rounded the bottom of the stairwell, she saw Seth walking to class from the opposite direction. His dark-blond hair looked like it wanted to cover his eyes but was failing at it. Even looking at him made her feel defensive.

He drew near enough for Quinn to read his T-shirt. A cartoon of Uncle Sam silk-screened in black-and-white on the front said, “Join the army. Travel to exotic, distant lands. Meet exciting, unusual people. And kill them.” On the inside, Quinn rolled her eyes; why did liberals like him act as though people like her invented war and they alone wanted peace, love, and teddy bears? Quinn read his shirt again. Okay, maybe it was kind of funny. But it looked out of place on a guy who never smiled.

They had less than a minute before the bell rang, and the hallway had emptied out. He probably wouldn’t acknowledge her; he never even said hi unless she said hi first. But he passed the classroom door. He was headed straight for her. His tan cheeks glowed bright pink, and his eyebrows scrunched together. Quinn felt her shoulders creep up as their eyes met. Was he going to call her out on something right now?

She saw Ilene slipping into the classroom and waved at her. Quinn tried to veer out of Seth’s path; if he wanted to tangle, he’d have to wait until class, when Mr. Levine could referee. But he sidestepped in front of her, forcing her to stop. What the hell? They stared at each other for several seconds. Quinn noticed that the dark brown of Seth’s eyes blended right into his pupils. He also had broad shoulders for a lean guy, but he was barely three inches taller than she was.

Seth started to say something but then kind of deflated. He pressed a limp, folded piece of notebook paper into her hand. Scowling at the floor, he mumbled something under his breath before charging into the classroom.

Quinn looked around in confusion to see if there had been witnesses. There hadn’t. She walked into room 105. She sat down next to Ilene and said hi back to a few people. Taking a huge, slow breath, she slid the letter into her folder and pulled a pen out of her backpack.

            Waiting for the slackers to trickle in, Mr. Levine strolled over to his desk and pried the lid off yesterday’s McDonald’s drink. He poured the light-brown liquid into the spider plant. Then he flipped off the lights and closed the door. He rubbed his hands together with that sinister glee that teachers saved up for things like pop quizzes. Then he slapped an outline on the overhead projector, on which he’d chicken-scratched the title “South Africa.” As the class groaned, Mr. Levine shrugged out of his sports jacket. He tossed it across his desk with one of the sleeves inside out.

As soon as he starting talking about apartheid, Quinn flipped open her folder to read the note.

Dear Quinn,

Here’s what I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time: I’ve liked you since the beginning of tenth grade. We haven’t had any big conversations, but I feel like I know you.

I know that you’re genuinely nice. Even though you have a lot of friends, you make a point of saying hello to people like me (the shy, antisocial types!). You’re really pretty, especially when you wear that green dress. You’re also smart. I hear George Washington University figured that out, too. Congratulations on getting in.

I wondered if you’d like to go to a movie sometime. I know it sounds weird coming from someone you’ve barely talked to (and especially from someone who would tease you about being a Republican), but I hope you’ll say yes.

Seth

BOOK LINKS

-’89 Walls is available on Amazon

-Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

-Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Katie Pierson freelances for local non-profits, using her background in public policy and grassroots organizing to overthrow the patriarchy one introverted step at a time. When she’s not writing fiction, she returns library books, makes soup, and tries to be cooler than she really is by hip-hopping at the YMCA. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania (where she dabbled briefly in being a College Republican) and a Master’s in American History from the University of Minnesota. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and now lives with her family in a suburb of Minneapolis. ’89 Walls is her first novel.

MORE INFORMATION

-Visit Katie Pierson’s website

-Connect with Katie on Facebook and Twitter

-Find out more about Katie at Goodreads

-Visit Katie’s blog

MY REVIEW

I’m not usually a fan of books that take place in the past, even if it’s only 26 year in the past. I usually stick to present/modern day stories. ’89 Walls though grabbed by interest from the summary and it sounded like a book I would enjoy, and it most certainly was. In all it took me two days to finish this book. I will admit I even read it while I was at work and supposed to be paying attention. I fell in love with the main characters and had to see what was going to happen between them.

The book brings up a lot of political references from 1989 and there are debates between the two main characters, Seth and Quinn, along with Quinn and her father throughout the whole book. While I could see why this may be a turn off to some readers, I actually enjoyed reading the debates and seeing both sides. It also gave me some insight to things that were going on in the few years before I was born that I had never heard or learned about before. It also made me open my mind at times during the debate and I myself not only enjoy a good debate but also love any book that can open my mind up to new thoughts and ideas.

I really liked both of the main characters, Seth and Quinn. They both had their flaws but that only added to their stories. Seth was such a kind and caring guy who not only tried to please Quinn, but also takes care of his mother who is suffering from MS. Quinn was a strong, independent female character who in the end stood up for what she believed in even if it was a different view than her parents. They both made their fair share of stupid decisions and mistakes throughout the book, but in the end that made them they characters they were. There were also quite the amount of minor characters including Seth’s mom, Quinn’s parents, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Jason and her friend Trish. Some I liked more than others, Seth’s and Quinn’s mothers, some really annoyed me during their brief time in the story, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Jason, and other’s I just ended up feeling bad/sad for, Quinn’s father. Although they were only minor characters, they gave a lot to the story.

Once I finished reading ’89 Walls, I was a little more convinced that it is probably geared towards the older side of the Young Adult genre for some of the topics discussed and actions that took place, even though the two main characters are both high school students. I think ’89 Walls is a great book if you’re looking for a young adult romance with some depth to it and one that will make you think (politically not romantically). It was definitely refreshing, although familiar to other young adult romances at the same time. I cannot wait to see and read Katie Pierson’s next young adult book.

“Still,” she said, “it’s kind of embarrassing to cry over a book.”

“I like people who cry over books. It makes me trust them.”

-Quinn & her father

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

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Title & Author: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Publisher/Release Date: St. Martin’s Griffin/June 9, 2015 (TODAY!)

Genre: YA Thriller, YA Contemporary

Format: Finished Hardcover

Source: St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for an honest review

Other Books by Author: Charm & Strange, Complicit

My Rating: 3hearts

What This Book Is About

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

When first reading the summary of Delicate Monsters I had thought it was going to be more of a thriller/mystery and thought, “I need to read this book”. As soon as I received it from the publisher I immediately began reading it that night. While it wasn’t what I had been expecting, I was instantly hooked from the beginning. The book is told in alternating chapters between the three main characters, Sadie, Emerson and Miles. Each chapter was short, yet left readers with just enough to want to know what was going to happen next.

The story itself had it’s thrilling moments and a lot of the storyline actually shocked me. It shows realistically some of the not so pretty things teenagers go through on a daily basis. It was actually a nice change of pace from all the lovey dovey young adult romances I had been reading lately. The characters themselves and their development throughout the novel is what had shocked me the most though. As the book went on, the dirtier the character’s secrets got. The end of the book really got me as well. I kind of suspected it to some degree but not in the way the author had ended up playing it out and I love when the ending is not what I had been suspecting throughout the whole book.

I will admit I did not exactly “like” any of the main characters. I think my favorite had to be May, both who was a minor character. Sadie Su was not your average teenage girl, dreaming of having the perfect boyfriend and into most teenage girl things such as shopping and hanging out with their best friends. Sadie had been expelled from three boarding schools for her behavior, which is incredibly cruel and is shown throughout the entire book. Emerson had to be my least favorite of all. While possessing some normal teen qualities, he also had some pretty sick and dirty secrets. I thought it was bad in the beginning but they continued to get worse throughout the book and my dislike for him only grew as well. Miles, Emerson’s younger brother, was the main character I liked the most. He was different and quirky, yet always down in the dumps which got a little old. I actually felt bad for Miles towards the end of the book though once his secrets were revealed and things had finally fallen into place and made sense. May was a minor character in the book and was only shown in some of Emerson’s chapters, but she seemed genuine, thoughtful and caring whenever she was present.

I really did enjoy Delicate Monsters and read the book within 2 days. It’s a light read page wise but subject wise it really makes you stop and think while you’re reading. I brought it into work with me the other day and already got a few coworkers interested in it. If you enjoy YA fiction of any genre I’d suggest you pick this book up and give it a chance.

Swept Away by Michelle Dalton Blog Tour!

book tour

SWEPT AWAY 1

SWEPT AWAY 2

Title & Author: Swept Away (Sixteenth Summer) by Michelle Dalton

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 5, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Other Books by Michelle Dalton: Fifteenth Summer, Sixteenth Summer, Pulled Under (A Sixteenth Summer novel)

 My Rating: 4hearts

SYNOPSIS

Beachfront love blossoms in this refreshing summer romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

 

Mandy Sullivan isn’t exactly looking forward to the summer months as tourists invade her seaside hometown on the coast of Maine. Her best friend, Cynthia, has abandoned her for camp and her older brother just announced he’ll be staying at college taking classes for the summer, leaving Mandy with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. Hoping to keep herself busy, Mandy takes a volunteer job at the Rocky Pointe Lighthouse. On her very first day, Oliver Farmingham asks for a private tour. A new—and incredibly cute—face in Rocky Pointe, Oliver seems more interested in Mandy than the lighthouse and its history.

 

Without her best friend at her side, Mandy is scrambling to act the right way and say the right things when Oliver is around. Cynthia—not Mandy—has always been the confident, flirtatious girl that everyone wanted to be around. As Mandy and Oliver spend more time together exploring the coast, biking through the woods, and attending the local summer festivals, their budding friendship becomes much more. But with Mandy’s insecurities creeping to the surface, can she open her heart to someone who will only be in town for three months?

BOOK LINKS:

Goodreads l Amazon paperback l Barnes & Noble (B&N)

Bookdepository l iTunes l Kobo

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

Sixteenth Summer (Book 1): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9091814-sixteenth-summer

Pulled Under (Book 2): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18248933-pulled-under

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Dalton is one of the many names Carla Jablonski uses when writing. Her two YAs written as Carla Jablonski (published by Razorbill/Penguin), Thicker than Water and Silent Echoes, were included on the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, and her graphic novel trilogy Resistance (illustrated by Leland Purvis, published by :01 Books) has won several awards, including the Sydney Taylor Silver Medal. In addition to writing novels she is an actor, playwright, and former trapeze artist. A native New Yorker, she is eternally grateful to her friends who invite her to their beach houses.

MY REVIEW

I have been a fan of Michelle Dalton since I first read Sixteenth Summer. I instantly loved the clichéd teen summer love story and continued to fall in love with each of her books after that. I love that when I read her books I am suddenly transported to a beach town that I have never been to yet am now so eager to visit. I love how you just fall in love with the storyline, the characters and the setting from the very first chapter. It is such a fun, light, enjoyable read that I could reread over and over again.

I loved the small beach town of Rocky Point and the way it was portrayed to the reader. It was so easy to make a mental picture of the quaint little town and made me want to hop into my car and take a roadtrip up the coast to Maine as soon as I finished reading. I also really loved the characters as I do with all of Michelle Dalton’s novels. They are easily likeable and you are rooting for them most of the book even though you know that their summer romance will likely come to an end. Mandy was so easy to relate to and I think any young girl would be able to see some of their own qualities in Mandy. Oliver was different than your usual summer love interest. He wasn’t the hunky jock out surfboarding on the beach. He was an artist and took the time to stop and admire things most other people don’t. He actually had some depth to him and that made me love him so much more. While some reader’s might not be into the insta-love, I was totally and completely into it and was hoping for the best between the two of them from the beginning to end.

I will definitely be rereading Swept Under (along with the rest of the Sixteenth Summer novels) while I lounge out on the beach this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a cute summer book, that also makes for a great beach read. It’s suitable in my opinion for tween and teen girls of any ages and I guarantee once you read Swept Away you’ll want to pick her other young adult books up as well.

MY DREAM CAST

These are some of the actors and actresses that I would match up to the characters in the book if it were being made into a movie.

Mandy Sullivan – Played by: Hailee Steinfield

SWEPT AWAY 8 MANDY

Mrs. Sullivan – Played by: Diane Lane

SWEPT AWAY 12 MANDYS MOM

Justin Sullivan – Played by: Taylor Lautner or Penn Badgley (it was a tie)

SWEPT AWAY 10 JUSTIN 

Cynthia – Played By : Lucy Fry

SWEPT AWAY 9 CYNTHIA

Joanna – Played By: Elizabeth Olsen

SWEPT AWAY 16 JOANNA

Patti – Played By: Sabrina Carpenter

SWEPT AWAY 15 PATTI

 Celeste – Played By: Jessica Green

SWEPT AWAY 14 CELESTE

Oliver – Played By: Nick Robinson

SWEPT AWAY 7 OLIVER

Alice (Oliver’s Mother) – Played By: Rachel Weisz

SWEPT AWAY 17 ALICE

Freaky Farmington – Played By: Tommy Lee Jones

SWEPT AWAY 13 FREAKY

So those are my top picks. I feel like they fit the characters really well in my mind. I really liked Penn Badgley for Justin but felt he might be too old looking for a college freshman/sophomore. Elizabeth Olsen to me looks like she could have an edgy New Yorker look/vibe.

GIVEAWAY:

Prize: Win (1) finished copy of SWEPT AWAY by Michelle Dalton (US Only)

*Click the Link Below, My non tech-butt cannot figure out how to embed the Rafflecopter*

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86103/?

SWEPT AWAY 3

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

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Title & Author: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Publisher/Year: Harper Teen/2015 (June)

Genre: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Infinite Days, Stolen Nights, Eternal Dawn

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever for a new generation.

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Let me start off by saying I loved this book. I would use the word ‘loved’ more than once, but the amount of times I’d use it to express how I felt about this book would make this post so incredibly long. If you’ve been reading and following my blog for a while you know I am a total sucker for summer themed young adult books. Throw in some romance and I am completely in love. A few days before beginning Between Us and the Moon I read a not so great review on Goodreads and I am so happy I read Between Us and the Moon despite what that person wrote because I completely disagree with it.

Sarah has lived in her sister Scarlett’s shadow her whole life so when they go on their yearly summer vacation to Cape Cod, Sarah decides she is going to do ‘The Scarlett Experiement’. Sarah figures if she dresses an acts like her sister, she will easily make friends and guys will like her the way they like Scarlett. When Sarah gets the attention of an older guy, Andrew, she pretends to be older. As summer goes on and Sarah and Andrew’s relationship progresses, so does Sarah’s lie. When summer comes to an end Sarah needs to decide between falling in love or being the Sarah she is on the inside.

I immediately loved the summary and knew I was going to fall in love with the storyline, along with the characters. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did.

Sarah, the main character, was pretty much a homebody in the beginning of the story. After her boyfriend/best friend breaks up with her because she “watches the world”. Once their vacation begins Sarah changes, but at the same time she doesn’t. She launches into ‘The Scarlett Experiment’, but after meeting Andrew, she still has a lot of her true features, like her love for astronomy, shine through past. Sarah not only lies about her age, but also that she is attending college, MIT to be exact, in the fall. Honestly, I don’t blame her for lying and it didn’t make me feel any differently for her character. I felt like I was easily able to relate to Sarah (other than having the same name) in many ways. I feel like we same(d) many of the same personality traits and characteristics when I was in high school. Also, let’s admit it girls, we all tell some kind of lie to a guy at least once in our life.

Andrew, a good guy with genuinely good hearted motives, is three years older than Sarah and a sophomore going to college in Boston. Him and Sarah continue to run into each other while Sarah is being a klutz and often tripping over her own feet. He finally takes the opportunity to introduce himself when he see Sarah on the beach. From there they begin a summer filled with romance. Andrew is so sweet to Sarah. He is also coping with the loss of someone close to him and dealing with the guilt he feels about it. Andrew is exactly the type of guy I personally would love to find in life. He is absolutely perfect that even the imperfections he does have just make him so much more appealing.

Of course there are several supporting characters throughout the novel that add to the storyline and without them, the book just wouldn’t have been the same. Sarah’s parents, her aunt Nancy, her Gran, Scarlett, and Scarlett’s boy for the summer Curtis just to name a few. They all were part of the story from the beginning to the end and each had something to contribute to the storyline. I really liked all of the characters, even the ones that were much harder to like than others.

Between Us and the Moon will be the absolute, perfect beach/summer book when it is published. It will make you laugh and smile and it will break your heart at times as well. At the end of the book I was so upset that it was over and I am definitely suffering a mild book hangover now. As I read Between Us and the Moon as part of a book tour and I will be mailing it out to the next reader later today, I will definitely be adding my on copy when this book hits the shelves in June. Between Us and the Moon is a book I see myself re-reading several times and I’m already looking forward to reading it for the second time. I of course would LOVE a sequel as a follow up for the next summer. I am unsure if there will be one but until then I will keep my fingers crossed!

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

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Title & Author: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Publisher/Year: Harper Teen/2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: ARC Paperback

Source: ATW ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Debut Novel!

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

When I first read the summary for The Night We Said Yes, I knew this was going to be a book I had to read. It was right up my alley when it comes to my favorite genre of young adult books and I loved the concept of the characters saying “yes” to everything in an entire night. I also enjoy books that show either two different perspectives or that switch back and forth between a ‘now’ and a ‘then’ because I feel like it gives the reader a better understanding of not only the story, but also the characters. Now onto the characters.

I actually liked the two main characters, Ella and Matt, a lot. I also really like Ella’s best friend Meg. Ella and Meg had an amazing friendship that was portrayed in the novel. Meg helps Ella out when she is down and Ella keeps Meg’s spirits up when she gets upset. A few chapters into the book I was already rooting for Ella and Matt to get back together. I also understood that it wasn’t going to happen right away due to what had happened between them before. As soon as Ella saw Matt again for the first time since he had left I wanted him to immediately apologize and explain why he had did what he did. I really loved the other relationship that began in the novel.

The characters really brought a lot to The Night We Said Yes and really made me fall in love with the story (and the characters too). I had a mini book hangover after I finished reading this and it took me a couple days before I could move on to another book. The only reason I gave it 4 hearts instead of 5 was that every chapter switched between ‘then’ and ‘now’, where I would have liked to see maybe a couple ‘then’ chapters in a row and then a couple ‘now’. I got confused a few times in the beginning and had to flip back to see what chapter it was. I cannot wait to purchase my own copy when The Night We Said Yes and if you enjoy young adult romance or contemporary, this is one you definitely want to add to your 2015 TBR list.

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

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19732381Title & Author: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books/2014

Genres: YA Mystery, YA Thriller, YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback (U.K. version)

Source: Book Depository

Other Books By Author: Dangerous Girls (My Review)

Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder …? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces …

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Dangerous Girls was one of my favorite books last year and my most popular/viewed review to date on my blog. I was beyond excited to see that Abigail Haas had another young adult book coming out. Because I live in the US the only format available was the Kindle version and I’m not a big fan of electronic readers. I finally received a copy for Christmas and was super excited but unfortunately I had quite a few review copies I had to read before starting any “personal” books. As soon as those review copies were done, Dangerous Boys was the first book I read.

It didn’t even take me 2 days to finish it I was so sucked in. The same page turning thrills and mystery that was present in Dangerous Girls, Abigail Haas brought back in Dangerous Boys. I had no idea what was going to happen next, much less which brother survives. I loved that each chapter switched from different times, Then, Now, and The End just like her previous book. I also loved that the ending had my mouth hanging open with shock.

Without giving too much away, it is safe to say I definitely enjoyed one brother more than the other. They were the one I was rooting for throughout the entire book. The main character Chloe however had her moments where I liked her and many where I wanted to smack some sense into her. She at times could be a, excuse my language, complete bitch, but that definitely brought something more to the storyline and developed her character a lot.

With the amount of anticipation, hopes and expectations I had for Dangerous Boys before I began reading it, I am so happy to say that it definitely delivered. With just two young adult thrillers, Abigail Haas has become one of my favorites when it comes to this genre. I have yet to be disappointed (along with her other books) with her thrillers and am not only hoping but praying and looking forward to another mystery/thriller from her.

If you LOVED Dangerous Girls I would highly recommend you head over to Book Depository (or Amazon if you’re into eBooks) and get yourself a copy. If you have not read Dangerous Girls and you are someone who enjoys YA fiction, then you reallyyyy need to check it out. It was absolutely amazing and completely shocking.

City Love by Susane Colasanti

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Title & Author: City Love by Susane Colasanti

Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegen Books/April 1, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: So Much Closer, When It Happens, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, Keep Holding On, Take Me There, All I Need, Now and Forever

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn’t resist, she may find herself in city love.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl’s life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

For years I have been reading books by Susane Colasanti and I love all of her books. It is extremely safe to say City Love is no exception and actually by far my favorite out of all of her books. I fell head over heels in love with Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna from the start and only continued to fall in love with the story as I read each page. I was thrilled to find out that City Love is not a standalone novel and can’t wait for the second book to come out. Every chapter is told in a different girl’s point of view, and they each deal with their own love, drama and issues throughout the book. I liked how each girl experienced something different from the others and that they were all different personality wise as well. The book ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger for each girl and left me wanting more and wanting to know what was going to happen to Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna.

Sadie, who was also a character in Susane’s book So Much Closer, is back as one of City Love’s main characters. Although she is already a New Yorker and wants to leave home ASAP, she stays in NYC for college and moves into an apartment with two roommates, Darcy and Rosanna. Sadie is such an optimistic and romantic at heart, believing her one true love is just around the next corner. She’s kind and always bubbly and happy especially when she meets a total hottie at her internship who is into all of the same things she is.

Darcy comes from California to New York City for college. She also comes from money and with her dad’s credit card. She is definitely not your typical spoiled rich girl at all. She uses her money often to treat her roommates to dinner and even treats Rosanna to a new wardrobe. She wants the people around her to be as happy she is. This summer is her “free for all” after a nasty break up back in California but when she meets a certain guy who she just can’t get out of her head she may break her own rules.

Rosanna leaves one city for another, Chicago for New York. She comes from a large family and is paying her own way through college through financial aid and loans. When she first gets to New York she didn’t realize how expensive everything would be and soon is left with a whopping seventy three cents in her bank account. Rosanna works at a summer camp to pay for her share of rent and makes friends with a girl named Mica. Rosanna is cautious and seemed a bit shy to me. She is against the “Wall Street type” but when she meets the brother of a co-worker she can’t help but to come back for more.

All three girls are so different and all come from different backgrounds. They each bring so much to the story that I couldn’t imagine City Love without one of them. At the end of the book each of their stories is left with the reading dying to know what is going to happen next and wishing that all three girls will get their happy endings that they all deserve. I cannot wait for the trilogy to be finished and I have a feeling it will be one of my favorites I have read. I strongly recommend City Love if young adult books are your thing, this is one you will not regret.