Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US by Samantha Young






THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US
by Samantha Young
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Published by Harlequin Teen
Pages: 384
Source: INKSlingerPR | Netgalley
Purchase Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo








Synopsis

I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever… 

My Thoughts

I LOVED IT!!

THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US is about the the secrets we keep to protect ourselves. It's about the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love. 

Friends have recommended several books by Samantha Young to me, but this is the first that I picked up. The fact that it is her young adult debut may have had something to do with that. I didn't even finish the entire synopsis before I decided this is a book I wanted to read. I thought the cover was cute - my eyes were drawn to the three people under the umbrella, but it was the title that really piqued my curiosity. What was the Impossible Vastness? This is what I needed to know.


What I liked:

  • The portrayal of combining the families from different backgrounds - and the relationship between India and Eloise as they learn how to become stepsisters
  • The many moments of honest vulnerability - these feelings was captured perfectly
  • The massive amount of compassion and forgiveness and the willingness to understand motives and acceptance of the ones we love
  • Eloise!! Finn!! India!! - these characters grabbed a hold of my heart

With the many characters and their secrets, there was a lot going on, but it never felt like it was too much or that the story was overworked. We have many experiences simultaneously which we deal with, so why wouldn't that be the same for the characters. It just served as a reminder that being a teenager can be hard.

Favorite Quotes:


"A boy like that needs someone to shake him up a little. You’re so good at shaking people up.” - There's just something about India that makes others take notice.

"Not only had I moved across the country, I’d moved into a freaking Jane Austen novel." - This made me laugh out loud. India is so out of her element, in a world of money, formality, and etiquette and obligation that almost seems of a different time.

"Life is what you make it, no matter where you come from.” - This rings for true for many of the characters. They just need to realize they can make their own destiny.

"He gave me the things that would last long after everything else faded to an end." - 💗💗💗

What surprised me the most:
This story made me cry. A tender, but significant moment snuck up on me and the next thing I knew I was crying. 

Oh how I LOVED this book. (I'm afraid this review didn't do it justice.) India and Finn and Eloise prove that we are capable of more than we ever imagined - love, understanding, forgiveness, compassion. It's in all of us. THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US is by far one of my favorite young adult contemporary reads of this year!


Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from INKSlingerPR in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Quotes are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may differ from the final published version. Thoughts and opinions are my own.



About Samantha Young:

Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today  and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook& hardback June 2017
Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.
Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.


ENTER TO WIN 
Signed copy of The Impossible Vastness of Us and Prize Pack!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Reread: BLUE by Lisa Glass

I recently reread one of my favorite summer books, BLUE by Lisa Glass. I read this book three years ago and I loved it just as much this time around as I did the first. When I'm not reading books to review this summer, I hope to fit in more of my favorites like this one!





Blue
by Lisa Glass
Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Published by Quercus Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher







from Goodreads

Surfing is sixteen-year-old Iris's world, and when the ultra-talented Zeke walks into her life, it soon becomes her passion.

Over one amazing summer, as she is drawn into his sphere, she experiences love, new friendships, but also loss, with an intensity she never dreamed of.

But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit..


My Thoughts
 
(originally posted June 10, 2014)

If you are looking for that one book to kick off your summer reading, Blue by Lisa Glass is the book you should pick up. With Iris and Zeke meeting in a yoga class, in an awkward, but compromising position, there is instant attraction between these two. It drew me in, that's for sure. Both Iris and Zeke are sporty and exude a level of confidence that made them want to know each other more. And as the reader, I wanted to know too.

While there is an immediate attraction and Iris and Zeke are drawn to each other, there is no insta-love here. Readers who are leery about insta-love stories can rest easy as you get to see the characters get to know each other and experience the friendship that begins to turn into more. But both Zeke and Iris are guarded and we begin to understand that their love story might not be so simple after all. 

There were instances in Blue that took the story in a more serious direction than I ever expected. It tackles some serious issues (which I can't mention because they can be plot spoilers), and does so in a way that keeps the story from becoming overwhelmed by them. 

There are many things that I loved about this book:

  • the friendship between Iris and her best friend, Kelly - this added a lot of humor to the book
  • the relationship between Zeke and his brother (and the rest of his family) - this explained a lot about Zeke
  • reading about Iris and how she grew into this more confident person after having her heart broken by her high-school boyfriend, Daniel
  • all of the emphasis on surfing - the rules, the lingo, the surf culture, the surfing lifestyle and the freedom that the characters experienced
And I especially loved reading the descriptions of being out in the ocean and the waves - it was hypnotic. It made me yearn to be in the water.  It didn't make me what to go out and try to surf any time soon, but I could easily envision the surfers, in the water, experiencing the thrill of it all.

I fell hard for this book and Iris and Zeke and their story. I would call Blue a true summer read (although you could read it any time of the year). There are other characters in Blue who were interesting enough that their story lines could lead to their own books. I certainly hope that that happens in the future.




Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from Quercus Books  in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han




P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU
by Jenny Han
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Published by Simon and Schuster
Pages: 337
Source: Purchased







Synopsis

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

My Thoughts

I love Lara Jean and Kitty and Peter and Stormy. Oh, how I love these characters and this story of young, first, high school love. Even though Lara Jean wrote to all the boys she loved before, I want Peter to be the true love. And I adore the portrayal of Kitty's affection for him too. I thought it was sweet that Peter and Lara Jean made some rules and had a contract for their relationship and promised to not break each other's hearts. If only it was that simple.

Favorite Quotes

"You gave me my first love story, Peter. Please just don’t let it be over yet." (pg. 2)

"Also, why is your memory so good? You remember everything.” “It’s my gift and my curse.” (pg. 110)

"When you lose someone and it still hurts, that’s when you know the love was real." (pg. 310)

P.S. I Still Love You is such a sweet story - about love, betrayals, friendships, sisterhood, baking, and yes, the letters. I loved it!



Disclaimer:  I purchased a copy of this title for my personal library and am providing my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way for providing this review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

THE LINE by Amie Knight - Excerpt and Review


THE LINE by Amie Knight has a new cover and I LOVE IT! I read THE LINE a few weeks ago and it was so good, I immediately recommended it to my friends. You can check out my review. I hope you'll take a chance on this sweet story. 





THE LINE
by Amie Knight
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Pages: 257
Add to Goodreads
Purchase Amazon










Synopsis

I was a thief.
The invisible girl only he could see.
The woman who wanted to be more.

He was the mark.
The extraordinary cowboy who stole my sixteen-year-old heart.
The damaged man who still owned it, even four years later.
The Line was where we began.
Where fates collided.
Where truths derailed.
The place where our love story ends.





My Thoughts

THE LINE is a wonderful story about fate, love, and finding your truths.

There is a great amount of tenderness in THE LINE that made my heart both ache and feel full. It stirred my emotions and kept me reading well into the night. I just had to know what was going to happen between Everly and Cole.

What I loved:

  • Getting the backstory of how Everly and Cole met - there was an authentic sadness that immediately made me want to read more and wish that Everly would receive her HEA
  • The imagery of the peach orchard and of Preston's farm (and an awesome description of eating a juicy peach) - READ THE EXCERPT BELOW
  • The gradual progression of Everly and Cole's romantic relationship 
  • The many ways this story made me laugh - Everly helping to swim the horses is high on the list
  • Hot times with the cowboy - yes, this has to be acknowledged, LOL!
I do wish that the cover of THE LINE gave more context to the story. While a bare chested cowboy can be nice to look at, I may not have picked up this book based on the cover alone and I would have missed out on a wonderful story. EDIT: THIS NEW COVER IS PERFECT AND IF I SAW IT I WOULD HAVE IMMEDIATELY PICKED THIS BOOK UP!!

Favorite Quotes:

"His voice. His stories. They were like listening to the deep timbre base of my favorite song. And I didn't want to miss a beat."

This one is sad, but I still love it: "And I knew he wanted to hold me, but there weren't enough arms in the world to hold all of my pieces."

I really enjoyed reading THE LINE. I loved it for the emotions, for the laughs, and for the friendships, and all of the love! I'm looking forward to going back and reading Knight's debut, SEE THROUGH HEART, and whatever else she writes next.



Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Quotes are taken from the e-ARC and may differ from the final published version. Thoughts and opinions are my own.



READ AN EXCERPT

How could it be so damn hot at seven in the morning? I wasn't sure, but it was. Even in a thin tank, cut-off shorts, and my boots, I was melting. I stood at the top of a ladder Cole had placed against a tree so that we could reach the peaches up top. I used the rubber band on my wrist and tied my hair into a knot at the top of my head, hoping that it helped.

Cole climbed up behind me on the ladder and stood a couple of rungs below, but still, he towered over my small frame.

“Okay?” he asked.

“Yep,” I answered, even though I wasn't okay. He was so close, and that familiar earthy, smoke smell I loved almost as much as rocky road invaded my senses.

“Good.” He looked at the peaches. “Alrighty. You see the ones that have that pink color?” He motioned to a cluster of fruit in front of us.

I nodded, trying not to breathe in too much. Because Jesus, he smelled delicious.

“Those look ripe and done. The paler ones behind them don’t look ready yet.”

I nodded again, and Cole grabbed my hand. He pressed his fingers in, wrapping both of our hands around a peach. He pushed the tips of his fingers into mine at the top of the fruit, near the stem.

“Feel the give, how it feels soft there?”

I squeezed my fingers around the stem again without his help and said, “Yep. Feels softer there.”

He smiled down at me. “Good. That’s also a sign it’s ripe for picking. But be gentle. They bruise easily.”

Cole’s front pressed closer to my back, and I shivered. The way Cole taught me to do things here was pure torture. It was also outright ecstasy. I lived for these moments as much as I loathed them. Because the man was a damn tease. He’d sent me back to the big house a sweaty, panting mess more times than I could count, my panties drenched.

He gently squeezed our hands around the peach and twisted and pulled. The peach came free, my tiny hand gripped it and his big, rough hand wrapped around mine. He brought our hands to my face and pressed the peach closer to my nose.

“How does it smell?” he asked in my ear.

I wanted to say, “I don't know. I can’t smell a damn thing but your smoke and leather, and I don't want to.”

Instead, I closed my eyes. I pressed my nose right up against the peach and concentrated on the smell.

“Sweet,” I said, my eyes still closed.

Our hands moved, and I felt the peach at my lips. My heart hammered and fire raced across my skin, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the weather.

Cole positioned himself even closer, and it seemed, in that moment, that every breath he took sucked up every bit of air in the atmosphere.

My own breath quickened, and a growl rumbled low in Cole’s chest.

“Taste it,” he whispered in my ear, his lips so close that I was sure he could taste me on them.

I opened my mouth and wrapped my lips around the fruit, the fuzzy skin tickling my lips. I bit down, and that rumble I heard from Cole made an appearance again. I moaned as I pressed my teeth to the fruit, the juicy sweetness of the peach sliding over my tongue.

“So good,” I groaned as Cole pulled our hands and the peach back. A little juice rolled down my chin and I attempted to lift my free hand to wipe it.

“I got it,” Cole said, brushing his hand over my chin, slowly picking the juice up with his finger, and ever-so-Goddamn-enticingly placing his finger in his mouth before sucking it clean like it was the best thing he’d ever put in his mouth.

“Delicious,” he said, his hooded eyes on mine as he popped his finger out of his mouth.

And f**k me. I swayed on that ladder, my own eyes closing as I willed my cowboy to kiss me with every breath I took. I made myself only will this about once a day, so I thought I was doing pretty good.

He brought our hands holding the peach to his mouth. He wrapped his mouth around it, his lips brushing my fingers, and I felt it deep in my core. I pressed my thighs together and swallowed a moan.

“Perfect,” he said, staring into my eyes. He held my gaze for a moment more before shaking his head and letting my hand, which was still clasped around the peach, go. Then he stepped off the ladder like he hadn't just made sweet, sweet love to that peach with his mouth right here in front of me.

I watched him walk off to another tree, place a ladder against it, and climb up like nothing in the world had happened. I kicked the rung of the ladder and turned back to the tree. Damn peach molester.


About the Author:
Amie Knight has been a reader for as long as she could remember and a romance lover since she could get her hands on her momma's books. A dedicated wife and mother with a love of music and makeup, she won’t ever be seen leaving the house without her eyebrows and eyelashes done just right. When she isn't reading and writing, you can catch her jamming out in the car with her two kids to '90s R&B, country, and showtunes. Amie draws inspiration from her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina, and can't imagine living anywhere other than the South.

Connect with Amie:



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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US by Samantha Young - Excerpt Reveal

   

From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity, and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again. 

Don’t miss THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US releasing June 27, 2017, and get a sneak peek of the book below!

   

About THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US:

“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

Amazon US Hardcover: http://amzn.to/2f0RQGu
Amazon US eBook: http://amzn.to/2kj5JD1
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2s6JJNr
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2qtHGR8


        

  EXCERPT:

When Hayley arrived I got into the car without a word and we drove home to the apartment in silence. Once inside, Hayley finally spoke.
“I thought we could do takeout tonight.”
We couldn’t afford to do take-out nights all the time. Take-out nights were reserved for birthdays and the last night of school summer vacation. Sometimes even Thanksgiving. 
Something was up. “Aren’t you supposed to be on a flight somewhere right about now?”
She shrugged, avoiding my gaze as she wandered into the kitchen.
I followed her, watching as she pulled take-out menus out of our kitchen drawer.
“What do you want? Chinese, Indian, Thai, Lebanese?”
“I want to get this ‘talk’ over with.”
Hayley regarded me, taking in my tension and the hard look in my eyes. Finally she sighed. “This is good news, India. Truly it is.”
“Just say it.”
“Theo proposed. I said yes. And we don’t want to wait. We’re getting married this December.”
My mouth dropped open. “I haven’t even met him.”
She pinched the bridge of her nose at my shout. “And that would be a concern if you were younger. But you’re starting junior year. You’re sixteen. Before we know it, you’ll be going off to college.” She stepped toward me and grabbed my hand. I let her squeeze it. “And, sweetheart, you can go to any college you want now.”
“How?” 
“Theo is…well, he’s wealthy. And he’s already made it perfectly clear that he wants the very best for me, and that means the very best for you.”
“Are you trying to buy my acceptance of this whole ridiculous thing? You are aware that this isn’t normal, right?”
Hayley dropped my hand. “Don’t be melodramatic. I just want you to know that yes, or course it will be difficult to leave behind school and your friends here and move to Massachusetts, but the upside is that we’ll never have another financial worry in our lives. Ever.”
Jesus, how wealthy was this guy?
As if she read the question on my face, Hayley smiled dreamily. “He’s an incredibly well-respected attorney from a wealthy family. Boston’s elite.”
“And he’s marrying you?”
“Nice,” she snapped. “Very nice.”
“I didn’t mean it like that.” I shrugged. “I just…I thought those people stuck to their own.”
“Usually. But Theo doesn’t care about that stuff. He just wants to marry the woman he loves.” She waved away my negativity with a shake of her hair over her shoulders. “He married a well-to-do woman, and they had a daughter, Eloise, before she died of cancer a few years ago. He hasn’t been serious about another woman since, until me.”
“Oh my God.” I shook my head in disgust. “You think you’re living in a fairy tale.”
“Don’t talk to me like that.”
“You’re hauling me across the country to move in with some guy I’ve never met!” I heard the hysteria creep into my voice, but couldn’t seem to stop it. “Let’s remember the last guy you chose that I had to live with. Or have you already forgotten?”
Understanding dawned on Hayley’s face. It was shocking that I even had to say it out loud. A good mother would have known exactly why I was taking this so hard. “Oh, sweetheart.” She moved toward me but stopped when I flinched back. “Theo is not like him. Not anything like him. I’m not a stupid kid anymore. I wouldn’t make that mistake again.”
I stared at the floor, trying to will my heart rate to slow. I could barely hear anything over the whooshing of blood in my ears.
I started at Hayley’s touch and looked up. She’d decided to ignore my body language and cross the room to take hold of my arms. She ducked her face to stare into my eyes.
“No one,” she whispered fiercely, “no one will hurt you. I promise.”
Liar.
LIAR.
LIAR!
The scream rang out inside of me but somehow I swallowed it.

This was happening.

About Samantha Young: Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017. 

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015. Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.    



   

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