Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Published: July 7, 2015 by Poppy
Source: ARC from a friend
Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, this breathtaking story of love and loss is guaranteed to break your heart and sweep you off your feet.

When high school senior Kelsey's identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn't know about the tragedy is Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can't bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister.

As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can't deny that she's falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn't want. [goodreads]

Oh this book.  It's left me in such a mess of emotions.  I did not foresee the pull this story would have on me.  It's the kind of narrative that leads you down a path you can't find your way out of, and certainly don't ever want to.  I was completely entranced by this story, as real as it felt to me, and found myself submerged in the beauty of its writing.

Kelsey's twin sister has suddenly died.  These two girls, who were once inseparable, have become their own identities in their teen years.  Kelsey being the strong, life of the party girl; while her sister Michelle is the artsy, more introvert, yet emotional one.  I had a really strong grasp on the individuality of these two girls as the story progressed, which made my want to keep reading that much richer.  I felt like I knew these characters, so alive and vivid.  Yet one is now gone, and the other is left in the wake of her own grief.

Witnessing Kelsey as she navigates this new life, twin-less, was hard to see.  My heart went out to her as she tried to keep up the strong facade, yet inside she was a million crumbling pieces.  I almost understood her reasoning for lying to Peter, at first, about who she really was.  Peter knew Michelle had a twin before he was deployed.  But once he was in Afghanistan, he had no idea Michelle was now gone and it was Kelsey he was really connecting with.  As their relationship grew so many miles apart, they discovered a solace in one another -- Kelsey was able to hold on to Michelle and the memory of her sister, while Peter had a connection to the world outside his reality of war.  These two lost souls found one another, when they needed it most.

As the story progressed and Kelsey's feelings for Peter strengthened, it became a bit difficult to watch the disaster that would soon come.  Eventually Peter would have to know that Michelle was gone.  He had to.  I read this book in a day because I was so engrossed with it.  I could not put it down until I knew that these two characters would be okay.  They took me on such an emotional roller coaster, one I had not expected.  But sometimes, its books like these that stay with me the most.  They are the stories I find myself recommending for years to come.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

I've read some pretty amazing books so far this year.  It was hard to narrow it down to only ten, but I did my best.  Have you read any of these?! Let me know in the comments!

As always, be sure to check out the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish for more details on this awesome weekly. feature.

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby [add to goodreads]
All Broke Down by Cora Carmack [add to goodreads]
First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano [add to goodreads]
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler [add to goodreads]
When We Collided by Emery Lord [add to goodreads]
The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase [add to goodreads]
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway [add to goodreads]
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han [add to goodreads]
A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery [add to goodreads]
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen [add to goodreads] *reread

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sweet Summertime Reads 2015 With Amy

Welcome to Sweet Summertime Reads! All summer long I will be featuring a different blogger to share their current summer reads + what's on their agenda for this summer. I hope you'll join me each week! Today, Amy from Tripping Over Books is here to share with us one of her favorite re-reads of the summer.  I love the way she's paired it with her own summer adventures as well.  Makes reading that much more alive!  Please welcome Amy to the blog...

Friends, I’m so excited and thankful to be taking part in Ginger’s amazing and super fun feature, Sweet Summertime Reads! It’s always makes summer even better to see everyone talking about all the great books they’re reading at the beach or next to the pool or on vacation. So thanks for having me and for hosting this excellent feature, Ginger!

I don’t know about you guys, but for me summer means contemporaries. Not exclusively, but I just find myself craving them more when the weather is nice and warm. Some of my favorite contemporary books are ones that I reread constantly--for the feels, for the characters, for the places. I’ll often pull ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS or THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE off of my shelves to reread during the summer months, but the one that I pull down with the most regularity is probably AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson. It was one of the very first books I ever read with my library school book club and I just adored it. I’ve read it in every format there is, but in honor of the incredible road trip Amy and Roger take, I brought it with me on a road trip of my own two years ago.

Two springs ago, my sister and I went on a road trip to Cooperstown, NY (home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame), Niagara Falls, and Toronto. It was baseball-centric--we went to the Hall of Fame, took a stop for a few days in Niagara Falls (AMAZING), and then went to a Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees baseball game. It was incredibly fun and I was SUPER STOKED to take my favorite road trip book on a road trip. It wasn’t cross country like Amy and Roger’s was, but I HAD to bring it with me.

I had big plans to take pictures of it everywhere, but I only wound up taking two: one in the window of a used bookstore in Cooperstown and another in my hotel room in Niagara Falls. Road trips are busy, guys. Also, there’s a lot of time DRIVING.

Anyway, I thought about AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR a lot while my sister and I were driving all over upstate NY/southeastern Canada. About making memories and seeing new places and how the ability to get fresh perspectives on things is only as far away as the nearest highway. For all that my road trip only lasted a long weekend and I basically drove in only three states and part of Canada, it gave me a better understanding of how Amy and Roger could forge such a strong relationship while they were sharing a car and so much of their time. Experiencing new things with people creates a bond, and even though Amy and Roger are fictional, thinking of them and how they’re probably still road tripping together everywhere makes me happy. (Unless this actually makes me crazy? Not sure. Maybe.)

I’m definitely going to be rereading AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR this summer. Because I almost always do, and because I miss them, and because I want to remember all the awesome fun my sister and I had together, too. And because Roger *hearts for eyes*


I completely agree with you, Amy, on how a change of scenery can definitely lead to a change of perspective.  It's even more amazing when we connect with this theme in a book.  I adored AMY & ROGER and have been wanting to do a re-read.  I might just have to now!  Thanks so much for sharing your SWEET SUMMERTIME READS with us, xo.

Be sure to check out the giveaway (open international -- Book Depository must be able to ship to you!) happening all summer long...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

+ Open internationally (Book Depository must be able to ship to you!)
+ One winner will be chosen to receive one book from the image above (provided that it is available)
+ Contest ends August 31, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
Published: June 30, 2015 by Harper Teen
Source: From the publisher
A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever for a new generation.

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict. [goodreads]

This novel is the perfect example of how a character's actions can cause me to be uncomfortable with a story, yet doesn't detour my thoughts and feelings about the novel overall.  I powered through this story because it's the type of book you have to witness until its final page.  Regardless of all the wrong turns this character makes, ultimately I had to find out where she would end up.

Sarah has always kept to the shadows, finding solace in the stars and her studies.  The only relationship she's ever had belonged to her childhood best friend, that turned romantic.  But just as summer begins, that relationship ends, leaving Sarah questioning who she is and who she wants to be.  While her family goes to stay at the Cape for the summer, she decides to follow in her older sister's path.  It's a journey Sarah thought would lead to better things, but ultimately placed her in difficult situations that only she brought on herself.

She meets a college-aged boy who she introduces a facade of herself to as an experiment.  She believes that if she plays the role of her older sister, then perhaps the outcome will be different too.  What she doesn't realize is the impact her actions will eventually cause as her and Andrew grow closer and deeper than she ever predicted.  I was uncomfortable with the lies that Sarah fed Andrew, in order to gain his attention.  I wanted so badly for her to come clean and be the girl she really was, regardless if it catches the boy or not.  But that's the tragic beauty in growing up, sometimes we have to make mistakes in order to learn and keep going.

Though the ending was hard to witness, I knew it had to happen.  I had hoped to see a bit more of Sarah living with her consequences though.  That aspect seemed to be skimmed over a bit, even though it was understood.  In the end, I feel that this novel delivers a topic that will leave readers with thoughts and opinions.  It definitely had me thinking long after I finished that last page.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Songs of Summer: What I'm Listening To...

For the past few years, I've been creating personal playlists on spotify for each season.  They aren't necessarily new songs (though some are). Each playlist embodies a feeling I have with each new season.  It's a good sound to have on as I'm getting ready in the morning, when I'm cruising down the road, or while I'm writing.  Pretty much a playlist for my life during that season.  I thought I'd share my current jams for this summer: Songs of Summer.  Sit back, have a listen, and enjoy.


I listen to this playlist a lot while writing.

My friend Jess created a playlist of the summer concerts we'll be attending!

While we're on the subject of summer, don't forget to check out my SWEET SUMMERTIME READS feature!  Find out more details on the introduction post + enter the giveaway to win a summer books release... [click this link here]
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