Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick



The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door, #2) by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published: August 18, 2015 by Dial Books
Source: From the publisher
A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns. [goodreads]

If you pick up this novel expecting a light summery romance, then you may be surprised to discover what an emotional, slow digesting, impressionable story these characters weave.  The Boy Most Likely To definitely should be read after you've experience My Life Next Door.  Though it is not a continuation of the previous story, themes from the first novel definitely carry over and its best, in my opinion, to have read that book first to better understand the basis for this one (and also to avoid spoilers).

Tim has always been labeled as the guy most likely to become a drop out and lose himself in the bottom of a bottle.  He's been sentenced to six months to get his act together, by his father, or else his college funds will be cut off.  Without a plan, or even a clue on how to rectify this situation he's found himself in, he moves in to the garage apartment of the Garrett's household.  His best friend Jase is the only person he can rely on, but it's Jase's sister Alice that catches his eye and forces him to make a plan, whatever that may be.

Alice is the oldest daughter in a series of brothers and sisters.  She's played secondhand to her mother and father her entire life; helping out with meals, carpooling, babysitting, and now managing the bills.  It's a lot for a just out of high school girl to take on, but it's her family and they are who come first.  When Tim moves into the one place she was suppose to find her own solitude in, sparks fly and resistance is tested.  All signs point to staying away from Tim, yet Alice seems to be gravitating towards him more and more.

Without giving away a huge plot line, I will say that both Tim and Alice find obstacles stacked against them.  Consequences from Tim's past come crashing into his already debilitating life.  He finds solace and support in the most unexpected places, even when he thinks he may not deserve it.  The relationship between Alice and Tim was definitely a slow, deep in the belly, sort of burn.  Witnessing their struggles both individually, and together, plays a key role in propelling this story forward.  I could not take my eyes away from the reality of what their worlds had become.  The emotional depth that this novel surfaces is both engrossing and heartbreaking.

The Boy Most Likely To presents its characters with flaws and misshapen exteriors, yet beautiful and intriguing.  It also puts forth a message of how family can be found in the most unexpected places.  The Garrett tribe is one of my most favorites in all of the books I've read.  Huntley Fitzpatrick's ability to write each character with such individuality, yet not abandoning the story, amazes me.  These relationships are brutally honest and real, the type of family you want to find yourself in.  Reading this novel was like coming home to a place so warm and familiar, yet unexpected and fulfilling.  It is definitely one of my favorites of the year so far.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Sweet Summertime Reads 2015 with Alexa


Welcome to another edition of Sweet Summertime Reads! All summer long I am featuring a different blogger to share their current summer reads + what's on their agenda for this summer.  Today's post is bittersweet because it also happens to be the last.  I am so happy to have Alexa from Alexa Loves Books as the feature wrap-up.  She has a fondness for summer, just like me, and I have always enjoyed her enthusiasm for what she reads!  Please welcome Alexa to the blog...


Hi friends! I'm so happy to be a part of Ginger's Sweet Summertime Reads feature this year, since (1) I love Ginger and I'm so glad that I've gotten to know her over the past few years and (2) I love summertime. There's just something wonderful about days filled with bright sunshine, blue skies and the perfect breezes. There's an appeal in vacations (whether to new or familiar haunts), in the relaxation and warmth, in the lingering positive energy that fuels my summertime fervor.


I've spent most of the summer indulging in good, old-fashioned R&R - reading and relaxation. I've been fortunate to enjoy days in the sun, whether at parks, the beach or at home, and to spend copious amounts of time with the people I love. It's been a very chill summer all in all, and I've loved every second of it so much that I'm loathe to recognize that it's nearly over. I'll be spending the last few weeks of summer enjoying what's left of it out of doors in my own neighborhood, and by indulging in rereads!


There are two series in particular that I'm planning on rereading as the summer comes to a close. First, I definitely want to reread the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (The Assassin's Blade | Throne of Glass | Crown of Midnight | Heir of Fire). It's partially because the next book in the series Queen of Shadows is coming out soon. But it's also because I love the way this story is written. The characters are real to me, and the story so complex, nuanced and riveting. I've been rereading it via audio since July, but I know rereading it in physical form will reveal even more details I might have missed out on before. 


And second, I also want to reread the Travis Family series by Lisa Kleypas (Sugar Daddy | Blue-Eyed Devil | Smooth-Talking Stranger | Brown-Eyed Girl). I've read the entirety of this series already, but I can never get enough of the clan that Kleypas has created. She writes charming, complex characters, puts them in situations that are exciting and surprisingly easy to relate to, and I just love revisiting this particular world she's created whenever I can. I certainly enjoy every novel in this series, and I'd highly recommend the series as a whole.

There you have it, friends, my reading plans for the remainder of summertime. I hope you'll grab a cup of something cold (iced coffee or lemonade, in my case), a comfy chair and join me in reading a few old favorites of your own before summer ends.

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Oh, Alexa, you had me at the Travis series.  I know we've talked in depth about the amazingness of this one & my oh my, is it wonderful!  I can never get enough of this clan either.  Great reading choice for the summertime!  I'm so happy you've had the chance to really relax this summer & enjoy its moments.  Thank you so much for sharing your sweet summertime reads with us, xo.

A HUGE thank you to all the bloggers that participated in my summer feature this year -- you gals took this above and beyond and I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing your summer reading experiences!  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

The giveaway ends in just a few days, so be sure you've entered... (open international -- Book Depository must be able to ship to you!)


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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blog Tour + Review: Love Comes Home by Kristi Rose



Love Comes Home: A Collection of Second Chance Stories
Book 1: Second Chances by Kristi Rose
Published: August 18, 2015
Source: Publicist (Jen Halligan)
Fourteen years earlier Lorelei Parker gave her innocence and heart to her best friend, Cole Williams, but instead of a forever love she ended up heartbroken and losing him. After a long absences Cole, now a local football hero, has returned to his hometown hoping to garner Lorelei's forgiveness. For them absences has not made the heart fonder but the divide greater. The unresolved manner in which their relationship ended makes healing and moving forward seem insurmountable. If they can put their past behind them, Lorelei and Cole may find a second chance at a future together. [goodreads]


Kristi Rose has written five short stories that make up the Love Comes Home series.  Second Chances is the first in this series of short stories, introducing two characters that have been given a second chance at love.

Lorelei runs a successful breakfast cafe with her best friend, in the same small town she grew up in.  She's used to her morning routine of opening the cafe, greeting her regular customers, and going through the motions with a smile on her face.  But when Cole, the man who broke her heart so many years ago, walks back into her cafe, and her life, she realizes that safe, regular routine is about to be turned upside down.

The ease that Kristi Rose writes with, had me feeling right at home with these characters and their stories.  Time was not wasted as it got right to the plot, producing a well developed connection for the reader.  I was very much invested in Lorelei and Cole's backstory, as I was their present story, wondering if these two could patch up old wounds and find themselves on a new, unexpected path.  The side characters littered through out gave this story its own unique personality, and has me wanting to read more.  Second Chances will definitely leave you craving more in this collection of short stories.




See the full TOUR SCHEDULE here: http://jenhalliganpr.com/tour/love-comes-home/

LOVE COMES HOME: A Collection of Second Chance Short Stories
by Kristi Rose | August 18, 2015

A collection of 5 sweet, heartwarming contemporary romances about forgiveness, second chances, and loving through difficult times. The perfect length books to satisfy your need to read when time is limited. Great for the carpool, waiting in line, running kids to practice, or lounging on the beach.

Book 1: Second Chances
Fourteen years ago Lorelei Parker fell in love with her best friend, Cole Williams, but instead of forever she ended up with a broken heart. Now, if they can put their past behind them, Lorelei and Cole may find a second chance.

Book 2: Once Again
Evie Barker works hard, takes care of her ailing mother, and finds pleasure in her simple life. The memory of a complicated childhood is all that remains of the old days—And good riddance.

Grady Duke blew out of town before the ink on his high school diploma was dry. A six year stint in the Marine Corps gave him a good dose of the real world. Returning home, sixteen years later, Ph.D in hand, the last person he expects to find next door is Evie.

Neither can escape the memory of one reckless summer together nor the wild attraction they still feel. But taking risks is not in Evie’s disposition. Even if Grady is the one man who can offer her the happiness she’s been missing. But he could also break her in an unimaginable way. Regardless, Grady must atone for the past and prove he’s worth a second chance.

Book 3: Reason to Stay
Shea Barker ran away on a greyhound ten years ago. Now a rising Nashville song-writer, determined to make it on her own, she’s set her eyes on everything but her past.

When her momma’s funeral forces her back to her hometown, she has no intention of staying longer than necessary. Until she meets Leo Marshall, the soft spoken journalist who sees her for who she wants to be, and suddenly a future she never expected opens up. Maybe her lyrics aren’t the only place where love is found.

Book 4: He’s the One
Having given up on the dream of a husband but refusing to give up the dream of a baby, Melinda Bane is putting her eggs into the sperm bank basket. When a fire puts her dreams on hold, she turns to her oldest friend Jared to help her through, like he always has.

Jared doesn’t mind running to help his brother’s ex-wife, Melinda, whenever she needs him. But while helping her repair her sunroom and learning of her hopes for a family, Jared has an idea of how he can fix even more than her home.

Book 5: Kiss me Again
Andee’s ten-year marriage has lost its spark. Whether it’s attending couples counseling or a BDSM dungeon, Andee will do whatever it takes to reignite the flame. But when all her measures fail and leave her frustrated, Andee wonders if anything will rekindle the fire she so desperately desires.

Love Comes Home: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads



About Kristi Rose

Kristi Rose was raised in central Florida on boiled peanuts and iced tea. She’s been lucky enough to travel the world but now, a wife and mother, she's resigned to traveling to the grocery store. No matter where she is, she enjoys watching people and wondering about their story. That’s what Kristi likes to write. Stories about everyday people, the love that brings them together, and their journey getting there. Kristi is a member of RWA.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads





GIVEAWAY

Grand Prize: One signed ebook or paperback, 2 fun diner/kitchen signs (see images), and $25 gift card of choice (US or FPO/APO address only)
1st Prize: One digitally signed LOVE COMES HOME ebook, $15 gift card of choice (international).
2nd Prize: One digitally signed LOVE COMES HOME ebook, and $10 gift card of choice (international)



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Be sure to check out this awesome deal for another one of Kristi Rose's novels (click the image)





Monday, August 17, 2015

Sweet Summertime Reads 2015 with Alyssa


Welcome to another edition of Sweet Summertime Reads! All summer long I am featuring a different blogger to share their current summer reads + what's on their agenda for this summer.  Today I am super stoked to have Alyssa from Books Take You Places on the blog.  She is one of the masterminds behind #OTSPSecretSister (not familiar with this project? check out @GalsOnTheSamePg for more info), as well as a super librarian!  I've always enjoyed her reading recs since they are outside my comfort zone and not something I'd normally hear about.  Please welcome Alyssa to the blog...


Hi friends! I'm so happy to be here on Ginger's blog to celebrate Sweet Summertime Reads with you all! It's the perfect way to catch up with everyone since we are all so busy over the summer! Let me catch you up on what I've been doing! I actually left my full time corporate job a few months back and am BACK IN LIBRARY LAND! WOO! One of the best decisions I've made for myself! You'd think that by working part time I would have TONS of extra time, right? Thanks to summer I was WRONG! May was busy due to a visit from Amy & Brittany and our trip to NYC for BEA! We focused on seeing all of you blogging friends and had a great time.

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Besides that, my best friend of over 20 years got married in June so I had lots of Maid of Honor duties which took up most of my time! Here's a pic of the couple with the Best Man and myself (we've been planning this picture since before she had even met her now husband):

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After that planning was done I was working hard on a side business, doing marketing and social media for a huge food festival here in New England. The best part about this is that Amy came out to spend the weekend and we got to spend some really nice time together!

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All great things but I've been busy, busy! Now, the important stuff...what have I been reading?! I don't know about you guys but over the summer (or holidays - busy times!) I sometimes find it hard to focus on let's call them "deep" reads. Anything you have to think about, you know? I found myself in a rut in the beginning of summer so...well, I took to those trashy vampire novels, friends.

The Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton is my go to series when I need to get out of a reading slump. I've read this series so many times, I started with book 1 in May and read one book every few days and I'm halfway through the series again. I don't care what people say, I love these books when I want to turn off my brain and be entertained!

Another thing I tend to binge in the summer is graphic novels! Let's see, this summer I binge read Y: The Last Man, finished up The Unwritten, tried out Pretty Deadly and binge read Locke and Key, which I loved. I have been trying to get into Lucifer since the show starts this fall but I'm really struggling!

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Lucky for me, two of my top three reads of this year were read this summer! The Uninvited by Cat Winters was amazing, and I can't wait to review it for you guys. The second is Uprooted by Naomi Novik which I'm sure you've all heard amazing things about! The gals and I read it for our "On the Same Page" post and we all loved it and are finding it hard to put our love into words!

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I thought I'd focus on getting that ARC rating up so I tried to read a few books from Netgalley this summer. I read A Madness So Discreet and I loved it! It has fantastic and layered characters, and a twisty interesting plot. If you are a mood reader it's probably better suited for a chilly and dreary sort of day! I just finished Until We Meet Again a few days ago and it's a definite summer read as 95% of it takes place on a beach! I enjoyed it while reading, and definitely recommend it. However, I don't want to give anything away but let me just say that the ending didn't sit right with me. It was one of those "satisfying" sort of endings, if you catch my...drift.

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I've also been pretty into podcasts lately. I like to listen while I do my puzzle, color, or scrapbook (honestly am I 7 or 97?) my new favorite is LORE which is basically true accounts of seemingly supernatural events that have happened over time. A few weeks ago there was one on The Jersey Devil, which is pretty neat! It's not too creepy for those of you who scare easily, and is definitely entertaining!

Finally, right before I started to write this post I finished Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones! I can't believe that it has taken me so long to read this fantastic novel. It reminded me of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles or Dragon Slippers and I loved it a lot. This is another choice for our Gals on the Same Page feature for this month, and I'm going to watch the movie and do a little comparison for my post!

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Now, as I sit here in my library and stare at my shelves I don't know what to read next. I often send my dad a picture of a few books (he actually chose A Madness So Discreet and Until We Meet Again using this method) and he just chose Ash & Bramble. However, I may continue on with my Sevenwaters re-read and pick up Heir of Sevenwaters as I tend to re-read this series yearly as well. I also have yet to finish Ruin and Rising (I KNOW, I'm horrible!) and just picked up Horrorstör from the library. Oh, decisions!

Regardless summer is almost over and I still have shows to binge before their new seasons start and football is finally back! My favorite season is almost upon us! Thanks to Ginger for hosting me, and thanks to you all for reading!

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Alyssa, I completely understand your need to binge read mindless entertainment.  I am currently doing this with a sexy romance series.  I never plan on reviewing the books, and that is quite okay!  Sometimes you just want to read for pure joy, you know?  Your summer has been busy a lot like mine.  My best friend got married this summer too :)  Thank you so much for sharing your sweet summertime reads with us... and dare I say I'm ready for football and fall weather too?! hehe

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


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+ 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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review + Giveaway: DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy



DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy
Published: September 15, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC gifted to me by the author <3
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart. [goodreads]

DUMPLIN' has done more than just steal my heart, it has completely run away with it, never to be seen again.  I was mesmerized, inspired even, by Julie Murphy's debut Side Effects May Vary, so to say I had high standards for her follow up is an understatement.  I've never been more terrified to read an already hyped up, beloved book by so many early readers.  Plus, there's the fact that I adore Julie Murphy as an author, too.  She's my home-state girl and I love meeting up with her any chance I get.  So yeah, expectations, meet my already soaring standards.

I could sum up this story as a girl who enters a beauty pageant to show her small town there's more to life than just a made up beauty queen.  Or I could mention the cute boy who challenges this same girl's confidence, causing her to question what she really sees in the mirror.  But honestly, it's so much more than that.  This novel breaks the mold on what every teenager tackles: self image.  I can remember the days where I, too, had my doubts on what I looked like and if I'd be accepted or not.  I'd be lying if I told you I didn't.  It's such a hard thing to overcome, especially the voices inside your own head... the ones whispering you're not pretty enough, you're too fat, no one will ever go out with you.  But looking back, I realize those voices were not just my own. There are so many others hearing those same words, too.

Willowdean is my everything I wished I was, and everything I still strive to be.  She begins the story with this oozing confidence, of not caring what others think, and just living out her days as Ellen's best friend.  But when she's noticed by someone, and I mean really, truly admired by someone, her confidence sinks and all those whispering voices inside her head begin shouting out every doubt possible.  She starts to see herself as the fat girl, and expects that is how everyone else sees her, too. My heart began to break in these moments.  She lost site of her inner beauty and only chose to focus on what she thought was being projected back at her in the mirror.

In an effort to stand up against the town's precious beauty pageant, she enters as a contestant, but never expects to win.  Why can't she be deemed beautiful, too?  I loved her passion to basically say F*** You to everyone who thought she wasn't beauty pageant material, and adored her school mates that stood up with her as well.  Together, they learned how to walk in a formal gown, and discovered their hidden talents.  I found myself cheering them on, but I was still worried about Willowdean and her reason for joining.  Was it just out of spite? Or did she really have something to prove?  In the end, its the battle she has to overcome within herself that shines the brightest on that stage.

Dumplin' is more than just a story about a young girl trying to win the crown.  She's someone who has to fight extra hard, and fall down extra hard too, before she realizes just how beautiful she truly is.  It took me years before I felt comfortable in my own skin, and to this day I still have my doubts.  Witnessing Willowdean as she transforms into this truly confident and mesmerizing soul took my breath away.  The cast of people who held her up, stood by her, and cheered her on captured my heart as well.  It's the kind of story you want every young person to read.  It's the kind of story that will linger with you, long after you've read the final page.  I may even find myself quoting "Y'all hail the queen!" a time a two.

Enter below for a chance to win this AMAZING giveaway box full of sweet swag + an ARC of Dumplin' --- Y'all, this giveaway box is so awesome, I'm even jealous of the winner!  Julie Murphy is the queen of swag & this box proves it.  Best of luck to all entrants!

Giveaway Details:
+ Must be a US resident
+ Ends on August 28, 2015
+ Please see my policies page for further contest rules

Already preordered a copy of Dumplin'? Then be sure to check out this preorder campaign HERE.


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