Monday, April 16, 2018

Coming Soon: Sweet Summertime Reads 2018

Hey friends! Can you believe it's already almost summer again?! If you're a regular at my blog, then you already know this is total Ginger season. I live for these months... those lazy days spent in the pool, endless nights on the patio, and every second in between reading irresistible summer reads.

This is my 7th year hosting #SweetSummertimeReads on my blog, a feature that I look forward to every year. It's a place for me to showcase my favorite books to read during the summer and incorporate all things summery. I hope you'll join me this year for all new content!

And what might that content be?! I'm meshing two of my most favorite things: Summer + Romance! I decided to dedicate this entire season to romance reads!! How fun is that?! Now, I know that might not be everyone's jam. But... romance comes in so many different flavors. I hope to deliver on all our various tastes. It's going to be great & I cannot wait!

In the meantime, let's get through this endless winter (in some parts of our country) together and head right into summertime bliss. So tell me, what are some of your all-time favorite romances? I'm going to offer a giveaway to get this party started! This contest is open to my international friends (just make sure Book Depository ships to you). All you have to do is leave a comment below, fill out the rafflecopter, and you're entered! Good luck... and happy *almost* summer!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

+ Giveaway open internationally (Book Depository only!)
+ No giveaway accounts allowed
+ Must leave a blog comment to be entered
+ Please be 18 years of age or older

Monday, April 2, 2018

Reading Round-Up: Winter/Spring 2018

Can you believe it's already April?! Where has 2018 gone to?? I can't say I'm bummed that it's going this fast though. After all, my most favorite season of the year is coming very, very soon: SUMMER! I'm already thinking up fresh ideas for this year's #SweetSummertimeReads feature (stayed tuned for that!!), as well as counting down the days until summer break at work/school.

With that being said, how is everyone's reading year so far? Discovered any gems? Came across some duds? I know I have. I'm off to a good start with my challenge; currently have read 20 books (I challenged myself to read 50 this year).

Today's post is highlighting some of those 20 books I've read. Consider them mini reviews packed into one blog post. I love recommending what I read (as most of you see through my social media accounts), but thought it would be helpful to have one place to refer back to. So be on the look out for more posts such as this one in the future.

Now, on to my current reading round-up for what I've devoured this past winter and beginning of spring...

Each one of these 2018 releases are coming from authors that I've read their previous work and loved, so their next books automatically go on my to-be-read lists. When I received advanced reader copies for each of these, you could say I was jumping with joy and performing my own little excitement dance. I wasted no time sitting down and reading them.

Both 9 Days & 9 Nights and Puddin' are set in literary worlds that I was already familiar with. I was eager to get my hands on their follow-up/companion novels. Dare I say I want even more set in these worlds?? Cotugno and Murphy know what my heart wants when it comes to contemporary YA. They get it so right with each novel they write. From the laugh out loud moments, to the heartfelt gut-wrenching emotional scenes. Their stories always please me and take me to such a personal reading experience.

Jenn Bennett and Maurene Goo are both new-to-me-authors from last year. I loved their previous work, so naturally I couldn't wait for their next. And dare I say these 2018 titles are just as good, maybe even better?? If they aren't on your release radar for 2018 yet, I hope they are now.

These four YA novels are books that have been sitting on my shelf for far too long and I'm kicking myself for just now reading them. I'm a huge fan of contemporary novels (obviously) and each one of these holds a unique, emotional, entertaining story inside.

Stephanie Tromly's voice is such a refreshing take on snarky YA. This "Veronica Mars" like storyline, but the roles are reversed, was so much fun to read. I'm patiently waiting for book three in the series to come out later this month so I'll find out how the whole story ends. Eep! I gushed about Abigail Johnson here, but I have no shame in sharing more love for this novel again because it captured my heart that much.

Simon. Oh, Simon. I am extremely late to this party, but SO glad I finally showed up. I get all the hype now. I totally, completely, 100% understand why so many adore this novel. It's perfect in every way possible. Later on, I'll be sharing my in detail thoughts on P.S. I Like You by Kasie West novel over at Andi's blog, but in the meantime just know that this is a backlist title that I feel everyone should make a front list right now!

I've read a lot of great contemporary YAs this year, but there's something to be said about the Adult Romances I've read, too. These four stand out to be some of the best adult romances I've read in quite awhile.

The Kiss Quotient debuts early this summer, but as soon as Berkeley Romance sent an advanced reader copy my way, I knew I had to read it. And read it, I did! In just 24 hours! I'm a sucker for romances that center around "fake" relationships because you just KNOW it's going to simmer into something so much more. This is a novel I've already been recommending to my friends who enjoyed The Hating Game and The Wedding Date, or anything by Christina Lauren. Be sure to add this one to your to-be-read list, too.

I know I can always count on my friend Angie to recommend an amazing romance when I feel a craving for something irresistible. Both The Prince and Brooklynaire came as Angie recommendations, and just as she predicted, I loved them both SO much! Though one is a historical romance and the other a contemporary romance, I still found myself completely wrapped up in the chemistry. I love a slow burn and both of these delivered on such different, yet satisfying, levels.

I'm another reader that's late to the Alisha Rai party, but man, I am so glad to finally be here. I'm currently reading the second novel in this series and since the third just came out, I have a feeling that one will be read here shortly. This romance series reminds me a lot of the Travis series by Lisa Kleypas. Though the storylines are different, there's still a rich history in family bonds that have been broken, all while forbidden romances bloom when least expected. I can't get enough of this world!

See something above that peeks your reader interest?
Tell me about it in the comments!
There's nothing more that I love than talking books with my bookish friends.
Read any of these? Share your feedback with me on them, too.
What have you read so far this year?
I'm always looking for reader recommendations, too.

Monday, March 19, 2018

#SuchAGingerRead: If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson

Howdy, friends! Last year I started a series on the blog titled "Such a Ginger Read" that highlights books I read that are definitely a me kind of book. Now, for those who don't know me, you may be wondering: What exactly IS a Ginger Read? There are lots of different ingredients to this type of story, but if it's got any of these: romance, emotional depth, set during the summer (bonus!), and/or a contemporary storyline, then you can definitely call it #SuchAGingerRead!

If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson
Published: October 25, 2016 by Harlequin Teen
About the book: Readers of Sarah Dessen, Cammie McGovern and Morgan Matson will adore this thought-provoking, complex and romantic contemporary novel from debut author Abigail Johnson, about finding the strength to put yourself back together when everything you know has fallen apart.

When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.

Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.

With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start . . . [goodreads]

This book came highly recommended to me by a trusted friend, so I already had high hopes going into. It's a scary thing though when your expectations are way up there, and you're wondering if the book can actually pull it off.

This book can. And it did.

When you look at the overall storyline on paper, there is A LOT of drama here. And I mean, a whole lot of angsty-drama. Usually that would steer me away. However, this goes to show what a brilliant writer Abigail Johnson is because she was able to weave me through the drama and connect all the dots, at just the right moments.

I felt truly connected to Jill and this fateful summer she had to endure. It's rare I see a parent in YA, especially the mother, painted in such a poor light. I was disgusted with her actions, angry with her choices, and finding it so incredibly hard to forgive her -- just as Jill, her daughter, did. That, to me, is excellent writing. I struggled through accepting Jill's relationships with both Sean and Daniel. In the end though, as I saw the whole picture unfolded, as messed up as their relationships were, it totally made sense in my eyes. Sometimes the beauty in a story doesn't present itself until the very end, when it's meant to.

I am claiming this novel as #SuchAGingerRead for its emotional depth, filled with all its ups and downs as the story takes the reader on a journey through heartache and beauty. It's definitely not an easy read, but its by far a rewarding one. And sometimes, those are the best kind.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Happy Release Day: Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn

Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn
Published: March 13, 2018 by Little, Brown
About the book:
Kira's Twelve Steps To A Normal Life

1. Accept Grams is gone.
2. Learn to forgive Dad.
3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend...

And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent's an alcoholic, there's no such thing as "normal."
When Kira's father enters rehab, she's forced to leave everything behind--her home, her best friends, her boyfriend...everything she loves. Now her father's sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal...exactly as it was before she was sent away.

But is that what Kira really wants? [goodreads]

It's here! I am so happy to be sharing my thoughts on Farrah Penn's debut novel, Twelve Steps to Normal. I've been a champion of her words long before they were set to be published and I am so incredibly proud of the journey she's followed through with. From one Texas book blogger to a (former) Texas book blogger -- Congrats!!

Kira’s story is one I feel that a lot of teens, unfortunately, can relate to. We see the aftermath of what having an alcoholic parent can do to a teenage girl’s life. The story picks up just after Kira’s dad exits his rehab therapy & attempts to re-enter Kira’s life. From the first chapter, I immediately felt the emotional journey both Kira & her dad would take me on.

This is so much more than just a story about recovery & the effects alcoholism can have on the people that are touched by it. I see so much potential from this debut novelist that I can't wait to read more from Farrah. From someone who adores contemporary YA just as much as me, she gets this one right. So right.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Those Books You Just Have to Have

No matter how many books sit unread on my shelves, or in my kindle app, there are ALWAYS more books I just have to have. I'm sure any bibliophile can relate. Below are a few of some upcoming spring/summer titles that I have either pre-ordered, or I'm waiting patiently to be approved via Netgalley or Edelweiss. Are any of these on your TBR list?

Trouble Never Sleeps (Trouble #3) by Stephanie Tromly
About the book: Happily Ever After gets a serious makeover in this swoony, non-stop, thrill-ride of a conclusion to the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy.

No one makes getting into trouble look as good as Philip Digby—and he looks good doing it. Now that he's back in town, he's plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He's got a lead, but it involves doing a deal with the scion of an alarmingly powerful family, not to mention committing some light treason. Zoe and Digby are officially together now, and she's definitely up for whatever closure this new caper might offer, even though this mystery will come with a twist neither expected.

With acerbic banter, steamy chemistry, and no small amount of sarcasm, Zoe and Digby are the will-they-or-won't-they, charismatic crime solving couple you've been waiting for. [goodreads]
Considering I just binge read (& fell in love with) the first two books in this series, I am dying to get my hands on the third, and final, installment in this trilogy. The quick-witted snark, plus action packed storyline, had me reading page to page. I am so eager to find out how it all wraps up! This was an instant pre-order!

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
About the book: From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look. [goodreads]

Maurene's previous novel, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, had me laughing out loud within the first few chapters. That was a definite sign of a fun book ahead (which it was!). So naturally I am looking forward to more by this author. I love everything about the premise of this new novel. And yes, her titles always make me sing them aloud.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
About the book: Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love. [goodreads]
If a book has Christina Lauren's name on it, I have to have it. I don't even care if it's a book that details their shopping lists, haha, I want it! They are some of my most favorite writers, and I can't wait to experience their first experiment in women's fiction.

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
About the book: A summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind… [goodreads]

You had me at ice cream.. and first love.. AND summer! All of these are ingredients for #SuchAGingerRead, plus to be written by Siobhan Vivian is a cherry on top of this ice cream sundae! I feel like I got an intimate look at her writing process with this one as she shared her experience with it through social media as the book came together. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product (And, that cover? My favorite! She always has the best covers!).


Let me know in the comments if you've added any of these to your forever growing to-be-read list. Or, if you've been lucky enough to read one already, let me know that too! (spoiler-free of course)

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