Friday, May 6, 2016

ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE by Christine Heppermann - Review and Giveaway






ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE
by Christine Heppermann
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Published by Greenwillow Books
Pages: 240
Source: Irish Banana Tours; Publisher






Synopsis

Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.


My Thoughts

I've mentioned it many times how I love reading novels in verse. The sparse storytelling makes every word that more significant. Last year, I read and enjoyed Hepperman's Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, Me Pretty and when I learned that ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE was by the same author and a novel written in verse, I knew that it was a book that I wanted to read.

ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE is multi-layered and deep. It's smart and emotional. I'll admit that I've read this book a couple of times (twice in the same day actually) and I'm still trying to gather my thoughts about it. 

What I liked:

  • How there are Addie's journal entries interspersed throughout the poems
  • Her openness with her parents and their response to her pregnancy and her decision to have an abortion.
  • The support that she receives from her boyfriend, Nick. He's in this with her just as much as she will allow. It's obvious that he cares about her even when she begins to separate herself from him.
  • Addie isn't shamed for her decision. It was the right thing for her to do.
  • The humor in the ridiculous song titles of Nick's band
  • How well Addie's emotions are expressed and how she questions all that she thinks she knows. I appreciate her uncertainity and her vulnerability.
  • The cover - it stands out and if saw it on the shelf at the bookstore, I would immediately pick it up to find out what the book is about.

One of the poems that made a lasting impression is Not Just the Dirty Parts (page 55):
I made Nick promise
not to tell anyone else
because
when people look at me
I want them to see
all of me

Addie doesn't want to be seen only as the girl who was pregnant, the girl who had an abortion. It wasn't shame that made her feel this way, but she knew that is all she would be known for if her classmates found out. This idea is again expressed later in the book with the poem Reduced to a Womb (page 165) - where Addie considers what Mary would have been like, what she dreamed to do, but those things aren't known because all she is known as is the Virgin mother.

ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE isn't a story about judgment and the need for redemption. It's not a story about guilt and the need for forgiveness. It's a story about a girl who made the decision to have an abortion and how things changed afterward. I'm glad that I read this book and got to know Addie's story. I'm sure that I will read it a few more times and I look forward to reading more books by Christine Heppermann.


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


ABOUT CHRISTINE HEPPERMANN:
Christine Heppermann writes fiction, poetry, and criticism. Her books include Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (2014), City Chickens (2012), and Backyard Witch (with Ron Koertge, 2015). She currently reviews young adult books for the Chicago Tribune.

Christine grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where she attended an all-girls Catholic high school. As an undergraduate she studied philosophy and literature at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She has a masters degree in children’s literature from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Christine lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her two daughters, two cats, and one husband.


LINKS: Website | Twitter

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:


Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE (US Only)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: UNDO ME by M. Robinson





UNDO ME
The Good Ol' Boys #3
by M. Robinson
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Pages: 294
Source: Purchased
Purchase Amazon | B&N






from Goodreads

I fell in love with her when I was seventeen.
She brought me to my knees when I was twenty.
I loved her against reason.
I loved her against hope.
I loved her against all odds.
Now she's back, a constant reminder of what I lost, what could have been.
I hate her. 
I resent her.
I still love her. 
Can I forgive her...
Will she be my end once again or my beginning?

STANDALONE within a series. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Strong language and sexual content, not intended for readers under 18.

My Thoughts

COMPLICATE ME was filled with heartache and angst. UNDO ME is in a completely different realm - complete and total devastation.

Aubrey was one of my favorite characters in COMPLICATE ME and I was really looking forward to knowing her story. She didn't have a major role in the second book of the Good Ol' Boys series, FORBID ME, but the glimpse that I did get to see, I knew her story was going to be rough. And oh man was it. 

I loved finding out how Aubrey and Dylan met - she was fiesty and defending her friend, and then learning how they eventually got together. The tender moments between them were my favorites like when Dylan would make Aubrey place her hand over his heart so that she could feel his heartbeat for her. To calm her. To reassure her. His love for her exuded from him.

But when things fell apart (can't really say why because SPOILERS), Dylan was the womanizer, the jerk, and sometimes unforgivable. And Aubrey had her own role in their demise and secrets that she kept for far too long. I wondered how would their love be redeemed? How could their love survive?

I'm not always the fan of the Alpha Male - yes they love their women hard, but the women they don't love are just casualties left in their wake. Sometimes that is difficult for me to read. I would be like how Aubrey is at the beginning of UNDO ME - telling Dylan off - in fact, I was that girl. For now, I'll just take these boys (men) in books, thank you very much.

I read the first books in the series one right after the other and I am thankful that book four, CRAVE ME, isn't out yet. I needed this time to breathe. I need the time for my emotions to regulate, for my heart to heal. Time to recover. Because there is a lot of sorrow in UNDO ME for sure. 

I joke and say that I curse my friend for recommending these books to me because I am destroyed. And yet, I give her much love because she's introduced me to books that I couldn't put down. She knew that I would like them and she was right.  


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.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: COMPLICATE ME by M. Robinson




COMPLICATE ME
The Good 'Ol Boys #1
by M. Robinson
Publication Date: September 12, 2015
Pages: 362
Source: Purchased
Purchase Amazon | B&N







from Goodreads

It was complicated, it was also just the beginning.
A decision.
A simple choice.
There is always that one moment in life where things could have been different. That one moment where you could have chosen a path that would lead you down a certain road. 
A different life. 
It was easier to pretend that we were still best friends, and that she was my girl and I was her boy. 
Pretending was better than knowing the truth...
I. Ruined. Us.
I had her. 
I lost her. 
I love her.
All I did was complicate us.

STANDALONE series. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Strong language and sexual content, not intended for readers under 18.

My Thoughts

I don't think it's possible for two people to break each other's hearts more than Lucas and Alex did in Complicate Me. Lucas (Bo) and Alex (Half-Pint) had a tumultous relationship that spanned their childhood and early adulthood. The book had my heart permanently lodged in my throat while I read it. OK, not literally, but it definitely felt that way.  

Once I started reading Complicate Me, I honestly couldn't stop. I read through most of the night and only put the book down when I couldn't physically keep my eyes open. 

I loved that it was set in a small beach town in North Carolina - I spent some time there in my late teens (and still visit there every few years). I loved the dynamics of the friendships between Alex and the boys she grew up with. Aubrey was a favorite character from this book and I can't wait to read her story in a future book of this series. 

I read Complicate Me on the recommendation from a friend who knows I love young adult characters, romance books, and books that make me cry. She loved Complicate Me and wanted to make sure that I had the chance to experience Alex and Lucas's story. Oh, I did. I'm so glad that I listened to her. Even though this book hurt my heart and I was on the verge of tears for a majority of the time I read it, I still 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, April 21, 2016

Review: ROMANCING THE NERD by Leah Rae Miller





ROMANCING THE NERD
by Leah Rae Miller
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Published by Entangled Teen
Pages: 352
Genre: YA Romantic Comedy
Source: YA Reads Blog Tours, Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase Amazon | B&N | i-Books | Kobo






Synopsis

Dan Garrett has become exactly what he hates—popular. Until recently, he was just another live-action role-playing nerd on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Cue a massive growth spurt and an uncanny skill at taking three-point shots in basketball and voilĂ ...Mr. Popular. It's definitely weird.

And the biggest drawback? Going from high school zero to basketball hero cost Dan the secret girl of his dorky dreams.

A band geek with an eclectic fashion sense, Zelda Potts's “coolness” stat is about minus forty-two. Dan turning his back on her and the rest of nerd-dom was brutal enough, but when he humiliates her at school, Zelda decides it's time for a little revenge—dork style. Never mind that she used to have a crush on him. Never mind that her plan could backfire big time.

It's time to roll the dice...and hope like freakin' hell she doesn't lose her heart in the process.


My Thoughts

As a fan of Leah Rae Miller's THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD, I just knew that I would have to read ROMANCING THE NERD. Dan and Zelda's story is sweet and hilarious. It was fun to experience their comical disaster of a courtship filled with misunderstandings, catfishing, and even some kissing.

What I liked:
  • How, as the reader, I was in on the secrets and secret crushes  
  • How much this book made me laugh out loud
  • More LARPing!
  • How Dan and Zelda embrace the things they love and how their hobbies reflect so much of their personalities
  • The sweet laundry room incident
  • Dan asserting himself to his dad - what do you mean he can't eat any pizza?
  • Maddie and Logan of THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD are in it!


Favorite Quotes:

"Anyway, what specifically don't you like about having people like you?"
I shrug, "It's such a hassle. I have to be, like, nice to them. It makes me uncomfortable, as you can imagine." - Dan (in a nutshell)

"Does OF Mice and Men really teach us something that we can't learn by reading something more contemporary and relatable? In fact, I'm almost positive I read a Star Trek novel that tackled some of the same ideas as OMaM." - Dan 

"Nowhere. I definitely wasn't going to make popcorn. Definitely not doing that." - Maddie, as she witnessed a run-in between Dan and Zelda

ROMANCING THE NERD is a cute book and it made me smile a lot. It reminded me of how much a loved the humor in the first book of the series and it is written just as well in ROMANCING THE NERD. I'll be sure to read both of the books again  . . . and eat a big bowl of popcorn while I do.


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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
LEAH RAE MILLER, Mother, wife, and YA author living on a windy hill in Louisiana. I love fuzzy socks, comic books, cherry coke, and brand new office supplies. THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD released Summer 2013 and ROMANCING THE NERD released in Spring 2016 from Entangled Teen.

Author Website: leahraemiller.com
Author Twitter: @LeahR_Miller




CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE BLOG TOUR HERE:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: PAPER PLANES and Other Things We Lost by Mindy Hayes & Michele G. Miller

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:



PAPER PLANES and Other Things We Lost
by Mindy Hayes and Michele G. Miller
Expected Publication Date June 2016


On June 18, 1993, Flight 397 crashed off the coast of Long Island. But this story isn’t about the crash. Not completely.

This is a story about two high school seniors living very different lives, who share one connection: they both lost parents on that fateful flight.

Slowly, letters bridge the gap between California and Pennsylvania as Ruby Kaminski and Brett Pratt find a way to remember the past while looking toward the future.

This is a story about hope, paper planes, and the other things they lost.

What are you waiting on this week?



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: DIRTY by Kylie Scott




DIRTY
Dive Bar #1
by Kylie Scott
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Audiobook
Produced by Macmillan Audio | Narrated by Andi Arndt
Source: Publisher
Purchase Amazon | B&N | i-Books






from Goodreads

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn't know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she'd marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong-maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?
 


My Thoughts

When DIRTY on audiobook was presented to me for review, I was more that happy to give it a shot because Kylie Scott is a new-to-me author. DIRTY is the first in a new series, and I've been on an audiobook kick lately, so I thought, why the heck not? I freaking loved this book! Andi Arndt did a fantastic job portraying Lydia with just the right amount sass and humor.

The shocking opening scene immediately caught my attention - how could it not? Then Vaughan discovers Lydia in his shower, fully dressed - wedding gown and all, and Lydia sees all of Vaughan - that's an image burned in my brain that I will likely never forget. I knew that if the beginning of the book was this attention grabbing and hilarious, then the rest of the book would be just as entertaining. And I was right! As soon as I finished listening to it, I started listening to it again. Yes, sometimes I skipped to my favorite sexy parts. (Don't judge)

I loved Lydia. She's smart and sassy and, in light of recent events, she is a bit uncertain about herself and choices. But ultimately she knows what wants and who she wants and has no problem going after him. 

And Vaughan - the former musician-turned-bartender - is tough and sexy and not a jerk! His appreciation for the fuller figured female form is adds another check in the plus column for him. He has some of his own stuff to work through and Lydia fell right into his life at just the right time to make it the right amount of complicated.


My Favorite Quote: "You're my favorite person on the planet," I told him honestly. - Lydia

Listening to DIRTY now has me seeking out more books by Kylie Scott and more books narrated by Andi Arndt. My TBR list is about to get a lot longer. AND, to add to the fun, the author has created a DIVE BAR board on Pinterest that enhances the visual experience of DIRTY with some rough and tumble men, gorgeous women, and there are some great beverage recipes for the 21 and older crowd.

DIRTY is a funny and sexy and entertaining start to a new series. It makes me want to pull up a stool at the Dive Bar and have a drink. I loved it!!!





Disclaimer:  I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I've purchased a finished copy of the e-book and the audiobook for my personal library. I was not compensated in any way other than the audiobook provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, April 18, 2016

PIECES OF YOU AND ME by Erin Fletcher - Review and Giveaway







PIECES OF YOU AND ME
by Erin Fletcher
Publication Date: April 18, 2016
Published by Entangled Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, contemporary romance
Source: GoodnChoice Reading Promotions; Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase









Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains references to drinking, addiction, and just the right amount of angst. You’ll want to save this tortured hero, while at the same time, not want to change a single thing about him!

Five years.

That’s how long I’ve been gone. Since I left my best friend—the girl I loved—behind.

Five seconds.

That's how long it takes to realize I am completely, utterly, screwed. Because now that I’m back, my childhood crush has turned into so much more.

Rylee has changed. We both have. And now I’m drawn to her in a completely different way. To her smile. Her touch. To reliving old memories and making new ones. To the happiness she’s always given me that I haven’t felt since I left.

But her friends are hell-bent on keeping us apart. My dad is one drink away from destroying both of our lives, and maybe I am, too. It’s only a matter of time before I have to leave again, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I never get a choice.
The one choice I can make? Stay away from Rylee. Because if I don’t, I’ll break her heart—and mine—all over again.

My Thoughts

Stories about first love are some of my favorites to read. That is what drew me to read PIECES OF YOU AND ME (and I love the title). It's about friendship and young, tortured, and inevitable love. It was a fun read with some really special sweet moments between former best friends who become more.

What I Liked:

  • The fierce loyalty of friendship - especially Mya's relationship with Rylee - Mya may have stepped out of line when protecting Rylee, but it always came from a good place
  • The parents giving "the talk" - Rylee and Chase aren't kids anymore
  • Teachers who care
  • The history of the composition books and how Chase and Rylee opened up to each other through the books
  • All of the moments when Rylee wouldn't give Chase an inch. She believed in him and in them 
Favorite Quotes/Moments:

Rylee misinterpreting the signs:
"Chase ..."
"I want you . . ."
I closed my eyes. "Okay." 
But after a moment, I didn't feel his mouth on mine, so I opened my eyes. He was grinning down at me, almost like he was struggling to hold in a laugh. "I want you to come with me."

The inevitable:
"God I missed you," he said.
"It wasn't that long."
"It was too long."

So sweet!

I would have liked to know more about what happened with Chase during the five years he was out of Rylee's life - especially his relationship with his stepdad Mark. There is more to that story that needs to be told. Chase had a lot of pain that he wasn't dealing and knowing his past would have helped me know him a little bit better.

PIECES OF YOU AND ME is another book from the Entangled Crush imprint that I have come to enjoy. It is the first book by Erin Fletcher that I've read and am looking forward to reading more of her books (I already have her first book on my e-reader, so I'll get to it soon!) Rylee and Chase's story was a pleasure to read and I would love to see them in future books! 




Disclaimer:  I received this e-ARC from PUBLISHER 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 the Author


Erin is a young adult author from North Carolina. She is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise, while drinking excessive quantities of coffee. She believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which is almost never useful when writing books.




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