Monday, June 25, 2018

Hi, it's me.


Hello there.

If you saw my previous blog post, I had mentioned going silent for a bit here. I also mentioned that I'd come back when I felt like blogging again. I'm still not 100% certain on how often that will be, but... I'm here now, blogging, because I felt up to it again.

So, hello there.


What have you been reading? Any new books you've discovered that have completely consumed you? I love when books do that. Even though I haven't been in the mood to properly review any books I've read recently, I've still had the urge to keep reading. In fact I've sort of dubbed this summer as my unofficial Summer of Re-Reads.

It started with SUMMER SKIN by Kirsty Eagar. Y'all, this Aussie author is phenomenal! If you're a regular at my blog, then you already know my love for her writing. Since Summer Skin just published here in North America, I thought it was only fitting to celebrate that with a re-read. Next up was a visit with an old love, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller. Trish is a great friend of mine (in fact, we share a love for Kirsty Eagar's writing, among many other loves, ha!) -- reading her stories bring me calm, something I can rely on when I am searching for something I know I'll need. With all the publication hype, I had to do a re-read of THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang. I read an ARC of this one back in January and loved it immediately. The second time around? I loved it even more. If you've been seeing all the great things being said about this one, they're true! It's amazing. My latest re-read goes to WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This has become a summer tradition for me. Y'all, this novel is everything a summer YA contemp should be. Each time I read this story I find something new to fall in love with. It's the perfect escape I needed.

I've been reading some new stuff, too. A few of those that deserve shout outs are: SAVE THE DATE by Morgan Matson, WILD ACES series by Chanel Cleeton, and THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory. On my shelf to read very, very soon are: STAY SWEET by Siobhan Vivian, ALWAYS NEVER YOURS by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka, and NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi. I've got my eye on some upcoming releases, too: JOSH & HAZEL'S GUIDE TO NOT DATING by Christina Lauren, FIGHT OR FLIGHT by Samantha Young, and THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOST THINGS by Jessica Brody.


Books aren't the only thing that's been occupying my time now that summer has officially began. I've been watching TV, too! For the past few years, TV has dropped to the wayside. Since Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, I haven't found anything that I felt was worth sitting down and making a point to watch (except for that whole Game of Thrones binge watch I did last summer). But then, I discovered Superstore. Never has a TV show come into my life at just the right time. I started watching past episodes on Hulu back in April. The day I had to put my sweet Daisy down, I found myself in a numb blur of motions. My heart ached and I just felt... empty. I didn't want to go anywhere, or really talk to anyone. Forget trying to read something. So I turned my TV on and started watching Superstore. There was just enough in the storyline to pull me in, but not completely consume me. It was exactly what my mind needed. As the weeks went by, and I started to settle into my grief more, I continued watching it season by season. I think this is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen, to be honest. The humor speaks right to me. Though I discovered it during a very difficult time in my life, it became an escape that I leaned on and then grew to love. Regardless of where you are in life, it's still a great show and worth watching.


Now that it's officially summer, I am home for the season. It's my time to refresh and relax before another school year begins in August. I just got back from my family vacation to Colorado. We went back to the same mountain resort in the Rocky Mountains that my family visited almost 30 years ago, when I was a little child. It was amazing to experience it again. So much had changed, yet so much felt familiar, too. I hadn't appreciated the scenery at 6 years old, as I do now at 36 years old. Those mountains! It is breathtaking. To say I had a nice time is an understatement. It was a vacation I know I'll hold in my memories for years to come.

So what's next? Well, in a few weeks I'll be turning 37. I've got another vacation planned to visit my best friends in Chicago, too. I know the summer will be over in a blink and I'll be back in the classroom before I know it. I'm trying to slow myself down and relax for now. It's hard not having Daisy here, though. I still find myself wanting to walk her, look for her, pet her. Those are habits that will take some time to ease.

Tell me -- what are you reading? watching? any summer plans? Even though this blog is not what I had planned, it's still here, and I'm still giving it my voice. I hope you'll stick around and listen.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Where I've Been... & What's To Come


Hey friends... I've been a bit quiet on the blog lately and wanted to update my readers as to why. Those of you who follow me on social media may have already received this update, but for those who just follow this blog I have some sad news to share.


My sweet Daisy, who I adopted into my life over 14 years ago, has passed away. It was a very difficult decision to make as her fur-mama, one I know deep down was the right decision to make, but still so incredibly hard. She was 15 years old, and for a dog that's definitely a long life. I found out she was very sick and there wasn't much to do.

I told Daisy I loved her as much as I could. I held her in my arms the entire time. It was brutal on my heart, but the passing was peaceful. I lost a piece of myself that morning. There's a sadness that will forever be inside my heart. She was my companion for 14+ years. She was part of my every day routine for 14+ years. She came into my life just months after I lost my mom, and ever since then she had been the one taking care of me. It was now my turn to take care of her.


Yes I'm sad. Yes I'm heartbroken. I wasn't expecting the magnitude of this grief until it hit me shortly after. Is it getting easier? It's becoming more manageable, yes. I haven't been able to remove her leash from the hook beside my garage door. I still expect to hear her, see her, feel her as I walk around my home. Losing Daisy is like losing a piece of myself. It will never be found.

So, with that being said, my focus on things has definitely shifted. I had all these plans to kick off another year of Sweet Summertime Reads and every time I sat down to write a blog post for it, my heart just wasn't in it. I am not giving up on this blog, but my previous plans for it are changing. The school year is winding down this week and with it comes a lot more free time for me this summer. Perhaps I'll get back my want to blog and posts some new things here.

Until then, you can always find me on social media:

Twitter - @GReadsBooks
Instagram - @greadsbooks

I hope you're all taking care of yourself. If anything, I've learned through this grieving process is that there is no end date. We all go through it at our own pace, at our own time, and it never truly ends. I'm thankful for the love I've received from this book community. Your support has meant so much to me. I'm still here, and I'm still reading. Always feel free to recommend me books whenever you want! I promise to be back here at my blog when my heart feels up to it again.



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.


 
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