Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Too Soon For Holiday Reading?



I love a good holiday romance, whether that be YA or of the Adult variety. However, I'm not much of a fluff girl (sorry Hallmark Holiday Viewers, that's a bit too much cheese for me!). I still yearn for substance in my reading, even if the theme is set around the holidays time. I've recently read two, one YA and the other Adult Romance, that I felt really hit all the right notes for me. Below are mini reviews of each and links to add them to your TBR for this holiday season!


Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle
To be published: January 2, 2018
About the book: Combining the emotional deftness of Sarah Dessen with the magical spark of New York City in wintertime, this affecting novel will inspire readers to pay closer attention to the world around them.

What does it really mean to be kind . . . and why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing in the world to do? High school senior Kendall, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting his way through a gap year before college, struggle with these questions when they witness a tragic accident in New York City during the holiday season. Racked with guilt, the two accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer and closer as they explore a vibrant city filled with other people’s stories and secrets.

Kendall and Max can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?

Jennifer Castle’s latest novel is a romantic, thought-provoking tale of human connection and how we find—and make—our place in the world. [goodreads]
This young adult novel is written by one of my favorite YA writers, Jennifer Castle -- who I feel deserves way more attention! Each of her stories pull at my heart strings, while delivering a very fulfilled reading experience. This particular story is set in New York City, just after Christmas and before New Year's Eve. I love the time frame of the novel and how we're almost racing against the clock, alongside the characters, to accomplish their random acts of kindness before the year is up.

Kendall and Max are both equally developed characters, with rich voices, demanding to be heard in their own unique way. They're both very different, yet their uncertain paths is the bond that unexpectedly ties them together. I was mesmerized by the city during the holiday season, but it was the true depth of the story that really sucked me in. It's the kind of novel you find yourself rooting for the characters, hoping they'll find their way to happiness, even if the path gets messy along the way.


An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
To be published: November 7, 2017
About the book: She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along. [goodreads]
Oh how I really, really enjoyed this one! Lauren Layne is slowly becoming a favorite adult romance writer. Each of her stories end up surprising me, even though they shouldn't, with how cleverly written they are. On the surface this story has all the fixings for a fluffy holiday romance, but once I started reading I soon discovered a highly emotional investment. 

Kelly is spending Christmas at home in her small town alone and she seems perfectly fine with that. Until a random stranger scares the you know what out of her by predicting she's already found her one true love & that they'll connect by Christmas. This sends Kelly on a hunt through her recent ex's list. As she marks each guy off, her best friend of ten years sits patiently (yet a bit brooding and irritatingly) by. You know where I'm going with this right? Yeah, the storyline is predictable, but I still had a lot of fun reading it.

The sexual tension in this novel was scorching! The friendly banter between Kelly and Mark was sweet, yet sexy. The odes to some of my favorite holiday movies such as Love Actually was a nice touch. But it was the emotional attachment I felt in the end that really took me by surprise. I hadn't realized just how invested I had become in Kelly's happiness. Her joyous spirit during the Holidays is infectious and you can't help but be rooting for her to find her happily ever after. Though it took her a little bit longer to recognize it, it was still a sweet surrender when she finally does.


Are you reading any Holiday novels yet? If so, tell me about them! 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely



THE REAL DEAL is coming July 10, 2018!
A sexy, witty, and heartfelt brand new standalone romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely, THE REAL DEAL is sure to make you swoon, laugh, and squirm at all the right moments. Pre-order your copy today! And don’t miss the new cover below!


About THE REAL DEAL:

Sophie Kinsella meets Jennifer Crusie in your next favorite romantic comedy, THE REAL DEAL!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau -- the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?


PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

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About Lauren Blakely:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she's sold more than 2 million books. In October, she'll release HARD WOOD, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads


Monday, October 2, 2017

Hello Fall! What Are You Reading?



The summer flew by in a blink of an eye, but then it became the "never ending summer" around here with Hurricane Harvey and the delayed start of school. Now I can hardly believe it's already October! As much as I love summer (let's be real, I'll always be a summer girl!), Fall is a close runner-up for fave seasons. I love baking with seasonal delights such as apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin. There's something so toasty about curling up on the couch with a warm cup of flavored coffee and a good book. And I'll be honest, we give a big sigh of relief for cooler temps around here (those 100 degree days can take a toll on you).

So this got me thinking... time to hibernate and get some reading done! But what's coming out soon?! I thought I'd compile a list of YA books publishing this fall that I am most looking forward to reading. Hopefully this post puts some new ones on your radar, too. Let me know what you're planning to read this fall!


There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Published: September 26, 2017
About the book: Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down. [goodreads]

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
Published: October 3, 2017
About the book: A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him. [goodreads]

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani
Published: October 24, 2017
About the book: Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly-knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage. But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating. [goodreads]

Now Is Everything by Amy Giles
Published: November 7, 2017
About the book: Now Is Everything is a stirring debut novel told in alternating THEN and NOW chapters, perfect for Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Niven fans, about what one girl is willing to do to protect her past, present, and future.

The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.

Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.

When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking. [goodreads]

The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
Published: November 28, 2017
About the book: Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel from the author of Boys of Summer.

Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year.

She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died.

But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her.

And his name is Xander.

When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head.

Ryn can’t move on.

But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start.

As moving as it is funny, The Chaos of Standing Still is a heartwarming story about the earth-shattering challenges life throws at us—and the unexpected strangers who help us along the way. [goodreads]

I'm always looking for more Adult & New Adult books as well. Do you know any publishing this Fall that you're excited to read? 
Please let me know in the comments.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Celebrating 7 Years of GReads with Morgan



All month long I'm celebrating my 7th year of book blogging with the help of my bookish friends. To learn more about the event, please visit my introduction post I've linked just below. There, you can also enter to win a book by one of the fabulous authors who will be joining me this month to celebrate, as well.


I'm excited to be featuring Morgan from the Bookish Beagle on on my blog today because I feel Morgan's blogging story is unique. I first met Morgan on twitter through bookish talks. It wasn't until she joined Jess at Gone with the Words, that I got to know her better. She's become a fun, fresh, and joyous voice to follow in the community. I adore her picture of her dog Andy, and always admire her pics from California with heart eyes. As someone who has been doing this for seven years, it's interesting to see the community grow and change. I'm excited for people like Morgan, to bring a fresh voice about the books we read. Please welcome Morgan to the blog...


My Blogging Journey

I'm so honored to help Ginger celebrate 7 years of blogging! Such an amazing accomplishment that I hope I'll be able to reach someday. I love her blog and how creative she is! My path to blogging is a little different than most, I think. For starters, I joined Twitter in 2009 to talk sports. I had a Lakers blog that I would update with my thoughts about each game because that was my outlet- at the time I had no one in real life to talk with about my passion so I turned to blogging. I didn't even know that the book blogging community existed! I'd always been a reader but I found most new books by browsing at Borders or the library (including Twilight). Ironically, the only YA I read was courtesy of my sister: she gave me The Hunger Games, The Golden Compass, and Graceling!

I honestly can't recall how I found Christina's blog Reader of Fictions but hers is the first I remember following and reading. I was starting to dip my feet back in the reading pool after years of casual reading (lots of Harry Potter and thick historical fiction) and here I found an amazing resource for books I'd never heard of but that sounded right up my alley.

I met one of my best friends (Lindsey @ Bring My Books) through Christina's blog and soon began following others- Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs, Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner, Ginger @ G Reads Books, etc- until it snowballed into the community I'm now part of. I met so many wonderful people just by getting into book conversations online- It felt amazing to have a place to really truly discuss books with other bookworms, to get recommendations and find new favorites, and to find other things in common as well. It kept me glued to twitter as I made friendships and discovered my love of Young Adult fiction. I also loved seeing everyone's creativity! So many original posts and memes and writing styles.

I started book blogging when I joined Gone with the Words in August 2014 after seeing a tweet that Jess was looking for contributors; I didn't know Jess but we had many mutuals and I felt so lucky that she picked me! It was so funny because lots of people assumed I was a book blogger already! Nope, just a girl enmeshed in bookish twitter and blog comments. Jess made it easy to dip my toe in the water and find that I really enjoyed blogging. She's one of the best people and so thanks again to blogging, I had another wonderful friendship! My first review: All Lined Up, perfect for football season. I still remember many of my firsts- my first physical arc: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen, o happy mail day! My first conference: ALA Annual in June 2016 where I got to meet blogging friends in person for the first time. Blogging has brought such joy to my life for so many reasons.

At the beginning of this year- February 13, 2017 to be exact- I started my own solo blogging journey for the first time. Starting The Bookish Beagle was scary because I wasn't sure if I could handle the pressures and expectations of doing everything by myself- reading enough, reading fast enough, posting on time, building an audience... even creating a website. But I've slowly relaxed and learned that content is more important than quantity, even though I try to post as often as I can. I'm still surprised when people comment or tell me how much they love my baby blog. And I love having an outlet for my bookish thoughts, which was my whole reason for blogging in the first place. I really enjoy being a book pusher ;)

There have been a lot of changes and shifts in the blogging community, even since I first started participating- some blogs are gone while many more have popped up. I'm not one for booktube but I enjoy posting pictures on Instagram even if mine aren't elaborate enough to be part of Bookstagram. I hope I'll be able to weather the changes as well as Ginger has! We'll see where the blogging world takes me next :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Celebrating 7 Years of GReads with Trish Doller



All month long I'm celebrating my 7th year of book blogging with the help of my bookish friends. To learn more about the event, please visit my introduction post I've linked just below. There, you can also enter to win a book by one of the fabulous authors who will be joining me this month to celebrate, as well.



I could not celebrate 7 years of book blogging without including one of my most favorite people: Trish Doller. I first "met" Trish as her debut novel SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL was coming out into the world in 2012. I knew immediately this woman's work was something to keep on my radar. Through the years Trish and I have become good friends, and it's all thanks to books. We've shared a lot of conversations about what we're reading, what we're listening to, and what we're feeling. She is someone I am so grateful to this community for. If it weren't for our mutual friend Carla in the UK, I'm not sure if our paths would have crossed. I will always be a champion of her words, always. Please welcome Trish Doller to the blog...



When people ask me how long I’ve been writing, I usually tell them that I started as soon as I learned how. My mother still has one of my kindergarten stories—written on primary handwriting paper with a thick blue pencil—about a leprechaun in search of gold. But I’ve been a reader just as long as I’ve been a writer. Longer, if you ask my mother, who claims I learned to read when I was three years old.

One of my earliest memories is an evening when she was reading to me before bed. We were working our way through an old chapter book called “B is for Betsy” and I adored it. After my mother finished that night’s chapter, I begged her to read just a little bit more. She said, “If you want to read more, you’re going to have to read it yourself.” So I did.

That book was the key that unlocked a hunger for reading. I finished the rest of the Betsy series. I revisited the Little Golden books that my mother had read to me. I went to the library once a week and I’d spend the next seven days rounding up wild ponies on Chincoteague Island. Crossing the prairie in a covered wagon. Traveling down the Mississippi with a turtle named Minn. Getting lost in the Alaskan tundra. Falling in love with a boy named Johnny Tremaine.

These stories grew inside me, inspiring me to put my own words on paper. My first attempts were basically fanfiction, trying to insert myself as the main character of my favorite stories, but my hand usually got tired of copying whole pages. As I got older, I wrote short story romances, usually spending more time on character creation and world-building than actual writing. Older still, I tried my hand at historical romance, but by then I had children and barely had time to write, let alone finish anything.

It wasn’t until I took a job as a bookseller that it all came back. I was walking past the YA section and the cover of Maureen Johnson’s “13 Little Blue Envelopes” caught my eye. I read it in one sitting and as I turned the last page, I thought maybe I could write a book like that. I thought that the ideas living in my head might finally find a home in YA. So I started writing again.

It’s been ten years since I completed my first manuscript (which didn’t get published, by the way) but I wouldn’t be here now, if I hadn’t first fallen in love with reading. Thanks, Mom.

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