Monday, June 27, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads 2016: Lisa's Recommendations


Hello again! Ready for some more Sweet Summertime Reads?!  Today's recommendations come from Lisa, one of my favorite people ever.  Her and I go way back (like back to the early days of blogging way back).  Even though she's on to different avenues now, she's still a constant in this community and I love her input.  Please welcome Lisa to the blog, but first, a few things...

Don't forget to enter the SWEET SUMMERTIME READS GIVEAWAY #1
And check out the #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on IG


Happy Summer, y'all!

First, thanks to Ginger for inviting me to be a part of this Sweet Summertime Reads feature! Isn't she the best? (yes).

Second, I am so terrible at thinking of a succinct way to introduce myself or do a "little bit about me", so I'm going to sum up myself in 10 words because we know the real reason you're all reading is 1. for Ginger and 2. for book recommendations.

Lisa = fantasy obsessed, Captain America fangirl, coffee fiend, laughs often, ridiculous.

Summer is a CRAZY busy time for me and my family, but we still try to make time to read! We all have our go-to reads for when we're busy, they might not necessarily scream "Summer Read". However, these are books that we enjoy so darn much that we make time for them even if we're totally wiped from a long, hot, busy day!

Theo (the 8 month old) - Hello, Ninja by N.D. Wilson + Forrest Dickison (goodreads). This is a fun little book about all the important things ninjas do in their ninja life. It's a quick read, sturdy board book, and the illustrations are so adorable. Theo can "help" hold it while I read the words!

Lucy (the 3 year old) - Disclaimer: Lucy reads ALL THE BOOKS. It is one of my favorite things about her. So even choosing a single book for her to be a favorite is hard, but I'll have to go with the Stinky Face books. The original, I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt + Cyd Moore, is read at least 1-2x a week at bedtime. (goodreads) This is a book that poses silly questions with serious implications - like what if I were a skunk, would you still love me? Of course the mama still loves her child, and explains how she would love them in any circumstance. It's the best. And the questions are silly so Lucy is a fan of that.


Me - Oh my dear friends, it is no secret that I. LOVE. DRAGONS. I was in the deepest of reading slumps this spring. I kept hopping from book to book to find one that would snap me out of my slump. It was months long, you guys. It wasn't pretty. Until Melissa Grey saved me from my epic slump with her strong second book in The Girl at Midnight Series. Therefore, my sweet summertime read recommendation is The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey, so you can get ready for the epic follow up The Shadow Hour. (goodreads) It's about a teenage thief who lives in a library (!) and is unofficially adopted by the Avicen, an ancient race of magical creatures who have feathers for hair (!!). The Avicen are in the midst of a centuries long cold war with the Drakharin, an ancient race of magical creatures who are basically dragons (!!!). Echo's wit, Grey's humor, and the addictive magical narrative are exactly what I need for an escape at the end of the day!

If you need more motivation, Melissa Grey confirmed that one of the Drakharin, who is Of Special Interest can be imagined as Sebastian Stan, but with dragon scales starting at his cheekbones and creeping up to his temples...*SWEATS*


Andrew: We've recently dived head first into the world of graphic novels, and there's no turning back you guys. The illustrations are intensely absorbing and the dialogue is clipped and succinct, so you can basically read a graphic novel (while taking your time to enjoy it) in a day or two. THE BEST FOR SUMMER! Right now, Andrew's reading Justice League #1 of the New 52 by Geoff Johns + Jim Lee + Scott Williams (DC 4 Life). (goodreads) We also both read A Court of Owls by Scott Snyder + Greg Capullo + Jonathan Glapion and IT WAS AMAZING (goodreads).


I'd love to hear your thoughts on these books (or maybe fangirl about Sebastian whatever) on twitter - @heylisarenee. Thanks!

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How awesome are these recs from Lisa's family?!  I love that she's raising readers - love love love it!!!  Hopefully she's convinced you to add a few new books to your summer TBR.  Thank you, Lisa!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer of Re-Reads: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick



What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published: April 15, 2014 by Dial Books for Young Readers
First Read: April 2014
About the book: From the acclaimed author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home till now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

A magnetic, push-you-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti. [goodreads]
Huntley Fitzpatrick is definitely one of my favorite authors.  I have adored everything she's written.  However, there has always been something about What I Thought Was True that stood out as my most favorite.  As a girl who has a yearning for stories set at the beach, especially during the summertime, it's no wonder that Fitzpatrick speaks directly to my heart.  And oh how THIS story not once, but twice now, spoke directly to my literary soul.

Can we just talk about the setting for a minute?  I've never experienced a New England summer on the beach, but it's definitely on my travel bucket list.  This story in particular magnifies that yearning to the highest level.  There's something magical in the way that Fitzpatrick describes the scenery, creating such an enriching place as if you can feel the clamshells beneath your feet and smell the salty air wafting by.  Even though its a fictional place, I can clearly picture Seashell Island and feel its natural beauty as if it's a place I've grown up in myself.

Now for the story.  Gwen is one of my favorite heroines.  I adore her strength and determination.  Her feminism shines through, even when she's uncertain of the outcome.  She's the type of young girl who knows where she comes from, is proud of it in fact, but is also not afraid to test the waters beyond.  The journey she takes is both endearing and romantic.  And oh, let's discuss that romance.  Cassidy Somers is every bit lovable and charming.  I adored his boyish ways and the attraction he has for Gwen.  It was both sweet and swoon-worthy.  The way they must navigate their relationship, among the push and pull of social classes is entertaining, but also believable.  I could not get enough of their moments together.

Huntley Fitzpatrick is known for her way of writing families into stories that could stand on their own, but also completes an already enriching tale.  Each of those characters hold their own weight, while also adding just the right amount of depth to an already rich storyline.  Gwen's family is so lively and chaotic; their devotion and love for one another, no matter how non-nuclear they may be, is so inviting.  It felt like coming home re-reading their stories once again.

Overall I love the message of this story and I felt it burn just a little bit deeper this second time around.  Discovering your own identity is important, and it's okay if you find yourself jumping off that pier to uncover it.  It's also okay if you choose to stay on shore and wade through the waters, unearthing yourself slowly but surely.  I might have to make a tradition of re-reading this novel every summer.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads 2016: Alexa's Recommendations


Hi friends! Back again with another edition of Sweet Summertime Reads.  This week, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books is here to share her reading recs.  I've known Alexa for quite awhile in this community and we finally got a chance to meet face to face this past January.  She is a great asset to the blogging community and I know I can always count on her for a good recommendation.  Please welcome Alexa to the blog, but first, a few things...

Don't forget to enter the SWEET SUMMERTIME READS GIVEAWAY #1
And check out the #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on IG



Hi everyone! I’m Alexa, the blogger behind Alexa Loves Books, and I’m thrilled to be here on Ginger’s blog to talk about my reading recommendations for Sweet Summertime Reads. In case you don’t know who I am, here’s a brief rundown for you – I’m 26, I’m married to the love of my life, I live in Queens and consider New York City my playground, I love reading, I hope to one day be a published author, I love travel and I’ve always had a major sweet tooth. If you want to chat about anything or get to know me better, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube (where I’m @alexalovesbooks) and Snapchat (where I’m @the-lexicon).

Ahem, anyway… Summer is just getting started, and I am loving everything about that – the warmer weather, the easygoing vibe I’m getting from the people around me and just the promise of all the possibilities (like road trips and out of town trips and picnics and barbecues and pool days and beach days) that lie ahead. I’m a little biased because I’m a total summer baby (literally – my birthday is in August), but man, summer is the best.


As a fan of summer and a fan of series binges, I thought I’d combine the two and share some series that I think would make for great summer binge reads – whether you’re stuck working, off to the beach or the mountains or enjoying a little staycation or weekend trip. Without further ado, here are the series that I think would make for some great summer reading! (The best part? I’m featuring (mostly) finished series so that you don’t have to wait for another book to come out.)


1) Nantucket Blue + Nantucket Red by Leila Howland
Honestly, just thinking about these books immediately makes me feel quite summery! Set against the backdrop of Nantucket (which sounds like a fabulous summer destination, and one I would not mind visiting for myself one day), each novel chronicles a life-changing summer in Cricket’s life.

2) Just One Day + Just One Year by Gayle Forman
I couldn’t make this list without including this duo! Not only do these stories take you to foreign locales aplenty, they also are about two characters who are forever changed by their brief time together. I am particularly in love with Just One Day, which is a book that left a lifelong impression on my heart.

Technically, this isn’t a “finished” series. But these are companion novels, each centered around different characters! Kenneally has a gift for writing teens who feel like real people. Each story involves a challenging event that forces the main character to grow up – and there are some swoony romances too!

One of my series recommendations for fellow fantasy readers has to be this incredible trilogy from Laini Taylor. It’s got lush writing that paints a vivid portrait of the world, the characters and the story, and readers will find themselves completely immersed for hours on end.

5) Unspoken, Untold + Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
If you’re looking for a read that has hints of magic and whimsy, but still finds itself grounded on some solid characters, then the Lynburn Legacy trilogy would be the right choice for you! It’s funny (particularly because main character Kami has a lot of sass), smart and very creative – and you’ll fly through the pages.


6) Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress + Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen
This series is a new favorite that I discovered earlier this year! It mostly just surprised me to learn that I could get invested in a story about trolls (which I didn’t think possible). The combination of smart storytelling, a strong female lead and a pretty sweet romance sealed the deal in the end.

7) Incarnate, Asunder + Infinite by Jodi Meadows
I’ve talked about this series countless times on various social media sites, but I will never stop because it is so good! If you’re in the mood for something very different to read, might I recommend this sci-fi/fantasy blend? It’s centered on the concept of reincarnation, and what that means for the characters.

8) Make It Count, Make It Right + Make It Last by Megan Erickson
The Bowler University series is a new adult series, just so we’re clear. But these books are smart, and they’re funny, and they’re fun. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s all too easy to fall in love with these characters and root for their romances. I definitely enjoyed all three of these books!

If you’re looking for some smart, well-written new adult books to binge, definitely pick up the three novels in the Radleigh University series! I love that the main character for each companion novel is a different gal in a group of three friends, and that their stories are so different. It made me laugh and made me swoon and was just really fun (and really quick) to read!

10) The Deal, The Mistake, The Score + The Goal by Elle Kennedy*
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a new adult novel that made me laugh and cry and swoon as much as this series has. Seriously, the Off-Campus series is my favorite new adult series ever, and I think many readers will feel similarly if they gave it a shot! (P.S. Was also kind of cheating with this one, since the last one is technically out in September… But they’re companion novels so… it works out.)

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Thank you, Alexa, for sharing your Sweet Summertime Reads with us!  I highly recommend the Nantucket Blue/Red novels too -- such summery goodness with great character growth!  What an awesome round-up of books to add to your summer TBR, reader friends!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Summer of Re-Reads


I had all these plans this summer, once school (work) ended for a few months, that I would tackle my TBR pile of ARCs and such.  I still have plans to do that, but I've also found myself struggling to get out of a major reading slump -- I only finished one book in May!  As I started to read those ARCs, or books I've been waiting so patiently to start as the summer began, I found myself losing interest -- WHAT??!  How could this be?  I've been so excited, SO EAGER to read these!  It sort of bummed me out, and actually induced another start of a reading slump.

This can not be happening.  It's summertime.  I am suppose to be READING ALL THE BOOKS.  My thoughts exactly.  So I started a new plan.  A Summer of Re-Reads Plan.  And y'all, it is going so fantastic!!!  One day I looked at my bookshelf and picked up a book I remember loving so much, but hadn't visited in quite awhile.  So I sat down to reacquaint myself, and several hours later (a whole night to be exact) I re-read the entire thing!  I thought, wow, that's pretty awesome.


So my plan, or spontaneous idea I suppose, is to re-read past loves when the mood strikes.  There's no pressure in finishing it by a deadline, or composing thoughts as I read on how I'll articulate a certain scene or theme later in my review.  It's just me, my book, and an endless amount of time to lose myself in a story I know I already love.  To me, this is what summer reading should be.

Looking ahead, my blog turns six in September. SIX YEARS OLD.  I feel that I should be making decisions soon -- do I keep at it? or call it quits?  But then, I'll read something (in this case a book I already love) and the thought of not sharing those feelings here on GReads feels foreign to me.  After all, I began this blog for those reasons alone.  So whether I am talking about the latest & greatest new book from such & such publisher, or rehashing past feelings about an old love that I recently read, this place will remain my safe haven.  I hope you'll still join me.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads 2016: Lisa (from Lost in Literature)'s Recommendations


Welcome back to another week of Sweet Summertime Reads!  I'm excited to have Lisa from Lost in Literature on the blog today because 1) she loves contemporary YA as much as I do & 2) she takes the most gorgeous bookish scene photos on IG!  Please welcome Lisa to the blog, but first, a few things...


Don't forget to enter the SWEET SUMMERTIME READS GIVEAWAY #1
And check out the #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on IG


Hi guys!! *waves* I'm Lisa @ Lost in Literature! I've been enjoying Ginger's Sweet Summertime Reads feature for years, and I'm so excited to be a part of it this year!! I started Lost in Lit over five years ago and have been blogging ever since. Two years ago I welcome my sister-in-law and bestie to join me, and it's been such a blast! You can also find me on bookstagram, where I spend a majority of my time because OBSESSION!! I guess I don't even need to say it, but obviously I love books and all things bookish! If I'm not reading, taking pictures of books, or blogging about books, you'll most likely find me spending time with my fun-loving son, playing legos or dressing up as superheros. (Being a mom is sooooo glamorous! ;) If we haven't "met" yet, be sure to say hi because I love meeting new bookworms!!

Okay, enough about me... let's talk about BOOKS!! I adore beach reads. I'd say I'm over 75% a contemporary reader, and YA summertime beach reads are my jam!! I just can't get enough! I'm so excited to share with you all today some of my very favorite beach reads!! Whether you like emotional reads, quirky & fun reads, or something a bit more swoony, I have a recommendation for you! So let's get started!


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Summer of Supernovas is such a fun read that will leave you with the warm fuzzies. The characters are so adorable and the story is the perfect level of quirky, entertaining and fun. A must-read for sure!

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Summer of Sloane is such a fantastic read! It addresses some more serious issues, and the emphasis on family and friendship really shines through. PLUS if you're looking for a swoony guy, THIS is a book you'll want to check out. ;)

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Girl Against the Universe surprised me in such a wonderful way! It ended up being one of my very favorite reads this year. This story surrounds a girl with a mental illness, but addresses it all in such a realistic and impressive way. PLUS I love the sports references, which always add a whole new "beachy" feel to books for me. You'll definitely want this one in your beach bag!

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Looking for tons of fluff? Dreamology is the read for you! A contemporary with a bit of a sci-fi element included, this story stays pretty fluffy and low-key. No unnecessary drama or emotions in this one! It's a cute, fun, entertaining read!

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Of course, a beach reads list isn't complete without adding in my favorite YA contemporary series of ever, Anna and the French Kiss!! I know the majority of people have already read this series. But if you haven't, it's PERFECT for those hot summer days! It's also a great series to re-read, so you can always consider it for that purpose as well. ;)

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Last but not least, I wanted to add in something for the non-contemporary reader. The Lunar Chronicles is AMAZING!!! For someone who doesn't normally read sci-fi, it means a lot coming from me. Another popular series, I know... but if you haven't yet read this one, I'd 100% recommend it! Going to the beach for a week? The PERFECT series to binge straight through!!

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There you have it, my friends! Those are my top recommendations for this year's summer beach reads! I hope you all enjoy these books are much as I did! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing your summer reading recs.  I love that two of the books you featured are both in my first giveaway!!  Great minds think alike ;) hehe

 
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