Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge || July: Most Anticipated Romances For Second Half of 2016



I can't believe we're already looking at the SECOND half of 2016 when it comes to our most anticipated romance reads.  Where has the year gone??!!  As always, there's quite a few upcoming releases that I am excited for.  Some of these are YA, while most are probably Adult -- that's what I've seemed to want to read these days.  Are any of these on your TBR list?  If not, I hope I've put some on your radar!  Let me know in the comments.


Words in Deep Blue Cath Crowley [add to goodreads]
Going Geek by Charlotte Huang [add to goodreads]
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills [add to goodreads]
The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee [add to goodreads]
The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely [add to goodreads]
Beautiful by Christina Lauren [add to goodreads]
The One Real Thing by Samantha Young [add to goodreads]
The Good Fight by Julianna Keyes [add to goodreads]
Lured In by Laura Drewry [add to goodreads]
Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci [add to goodreads]


Be sure & check out the hosts of this challenge, Gone with the Words and Love at First Page
for more contemporary romance goodness!!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads 2016: Tiffanie's Recommendations


Are you ready for the latest installment of Sweet Summertime Reads?  This week belongs to Tiffanie from Mostly YA Lit, a Canadian blogger who I've really connected with through social media and our blogs.  We read a lot of the same stuff, and tend to fangirl over said reads quite often.  She's such a refreshing voice in this community, and it's why I love her take on this week's recommendations.  Before we get to that though, check out the following...

Like taking pics? Check out #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on IG


Hi guys, I’m delighted to be participating in Ginger’s Sweet Summertime Reads for the second time! I’ve been reading and loving GReads for longer than I’ve been a blogger (four years!), and this is one of my favorite features because, like Ginger, I think there’s something magical about summer and summer reading.

Like everyone else who’s written this year, summer is all about the contemporaries to me (but, let’s be honest, I’m always all about the contemporaries). The shortness of the season, especially here in Toronto, makes it fleeting and thus, every moment of sunshine extra special. I always want to dive into real stories where that bittersweet feeling is captured - that feeling that time stops in lazy, hazy days - but that it also seems to passing extra quickly.

So this year, I thought I’d recommend some of my favorite bittersweet summer books - books that are sometimes painful to read, but ones that you learn from and that evoke that dichotomy of time:


  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson - As soon as I said heart-wrenching, you knew I was going for this one, didn’t you? Taylor’s dad is dying and her family goes up to their old lake house for the first time in years to spend the summer together. Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but...there’s nothing that makes you see time passing and want to celebrate life like imminent death. The end of this book didn’t just break me, it changed me. I look at life and death a different way because of it.
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord - A gorgeous love story about Vivi, who moves to a small California seaside town for a summer, and Jonah, a townie, who are each, respectively, dealing with mental health and grief issues - both within themselves and with their families. An amazing deconstructions of the manic pixie dream girl stereotype and one of the most realistic portrayals of summer love I’ve read.
  • Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker - Cheating is one of those topics that I know people are on the fence about, but this summer book about a girl who committed the ultimate betrayal - cheating with her best friend’s boyfriend - and then living on a boat with her family for the summer is one of the best I’ve read about self-discovery, taking responsibility, and family. It’s angsty, but it’s real.
  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold - Awonderful, quirkily written book about a girl dealing with mental health issues and going on a road trip to find her real mother and herself. It’s complex, it’s dark at times, and it has a heroine who isn’t really the most likeable character - but the road trip she takes feels like the rite of passage that summer sometimes is, especially for teens.
  • Just One Day by Gayle Forman - I couldn’t do a summer list without mentioning this, my all-time favorite YA book. Not only is it about the two summers in Europe - the first, the catalyst for change in conservative Allyson, and the second, the changes and actions Allyson makes after the first summer; it also has a unique take on the bittersweet and fleeting romance that screams summer to me. And to add to all that, there’s Shakespeare, self-discovery, and an incredibly well-drawn theme of fate and coincidences. If there’s one book on this list that really evokes that feeling of both how time can stretch and bend because of experience, it’s this one. The perfect read for any time.
***

Oh these bittersweet summer reads! I've read all of them, but one, and can definitely say they leave an ache in your heart.  But it's a refreshing sort of ache, that reminds us there are stories in this world to make us feel alive.  Thank you so much, Tiffianie, for sharing these recommendations with us.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads: Giveaway #3


I cannot believe the summer is already almost over! Where did it go??!! Some of you may bask in all its summery goodness until the end of August/early September, but this teacher's summer ends the minute I step foot back in the classroom, which is just a few short weeks away... Until then, I've got one more Sweet Summertime Reads giveaway to share with my readers.  As before, you'll get a box of summer goodies, but this time, the two books will be the winner's choice!  Books must be available on Amazon, no more than $12 each, and have already been published.  Other than that, it's your choice! This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only.  Good Luck!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Be sure to follow the #SweetSummertimeReads hashtag on twitter & join the #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on Instagram for more summer fun!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sweet Summertime Reads 2016: Heidi's Recommendations


Excited to have another veteran of Sweet Summertime Reads featured today. Heidi is one of the first bloggers I "met" in this community and have always appreciated her passion and enthusiasm for literature. She brings it again with this week's recommendations and I could not be more grateful! Before we get to that though, be sure to check out the following...

Like taking pics? Check out #SweetSummertimeReads2016 photo challenge on IG


Hello fellow GReads! fans! Heidi from YA Bibliophile here. Many thanks to Ginger for all the time she puts in to organizing Sweet Summertime Reads! I'm so pleased to be here for the 2016 edition. Before I get to my recommendations, a bit about me. I started my blog in 2009 but didn't start posting regularly until sometime in 2010. I can't believe it's been that long! I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing half the time :) In my day to day life I'm a middle school librarian. I get to spend a good portion of my working hours talking to teens about books. Dream job, right? Outside of work and reading I love to spend time with my nieces and nephew and geek out about the things I love (Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice and so many more things!)

Find me online:

Between being a librarian and blogging about YA books I spend a lot of time immersed in the world of young adult books. Summer is usually my time to read uninterrupted and I love it. This year I've been in a bit of a YA slump and it is totally bumming me out!!! However, I think I just need the time to refresh. I've been reading a ton of my other love... historical romance novels! It's finally gotten to the point where I miss YA novels and I can't wait to dive back in.

For this post I'm recommending some of my favorite YA books that I wish I could read again for the first time this summer.


Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

You'll notice they're all contemporary reads... they just scream summer to me! Each and every one of these books left me with a dreamy sigh. Some made me laugh. Some made me cry. Each is a book that I know I can count on when I need a pick me up. To me, that's what summer reading is all about!

***

A girl after my own heart!! I completely agree with Heidi, about these books screaming summer!  Oh how I wish I could read some of these for the first time, too.  I guess it's a good thing I've been all about the summer of re-reads!  Thanks, Heidi, for featuring your Sweet Summertime Reads recs with us.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

35 Years Young



Have you ever looked back on your life and seen a very distinct fork in the road? There may have been multiple paths you could have taken, that would no doubt take your life in different directions, but you chose one specific road.... and look where it's led you.  When I look back on six years ago, I see that fork in my own road of life.  It was the summer I turned 29 and I made the decision to go back to school.  I also threw around the idea of putting my thoughts of what I read down on virtual paper.  Never did I realize that this path I chose would lead me to where I am standing today.

image found here
Today I turn 35 years old.  Age has always just been a number to me, no real distinction of where I should be or want to be in life.  I've learned along the way it's just a symbol to signify time passing by.  Sometimes that represents sadness for me.  And that's okay, to feel sad.  It just reminds me that I've lived a good, healthy, happy life thus far.  But other times it's a representation of happiness.  Look what I've accomplished!  Wow, I've come far. -- Those are all thoughts that race through my mind as I turn another year older.

The reason I am even writing about this on my book blog today is because it always comes back to the choices I made those six years ago.  I was such a lost soul, who felt I was just going through the motions of life.  Time was passing me by and I never felt any real purpose.  Sure, I had good days and I was happy.  But when I stepped back and looked at the big picture of who I was and who I strived to be, it just felt grayish and uncertain.  I wanted to see more defined strokes, exuberant colors, and unfinished marks.

Who would have thought that picking up a book, falling in love with the storytelling, wanting to share those thoughts & emotions with the great wide world of the Internet (or even a classroom someday) would land me here.  Crazy how one decision, or perhaps a series of choices being made by myself, led me to this current route.  I love my life.  I love the people I've chosen to share it with, and the ones who have embraced me in their life as well.  The world can be hard and ugly sometimes.  It's important to fill your days with beauty.  

image found here
I am 35 years old today.  I am also 35 years young today.  This journey I've found myself on hasn't always been easy.  Just getting to that classroom, and fulfilling my want to teach was a struggle and continues to be a challenge every day.  But it's a battle I want to keep striving for.  Some days I'll win, and some days I may lose.  And that is okay.  I've put so much of my time and myself into this blog.  I share these words on what I read because I truly believe the written word is a powerful tool.  It can ease the soul, while expanding our minds.  It brings together people from all parts of the world to talk, laugh, and love over something as simple as a story.  I want those kinds of people forever in my corner.

This isn't a declaration of my choices, but simply a celebration of the fact that I am still standing, still learning, still moving forward.  35 years has taught me a heck of a lot.  But I also know the next 35+ years will teach me even more.  My story isn't nearly over.  Some days it feels like it's just beginning...





 
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