Posts Categorized: YA contemporary

The Way Back To You~ Book Breview

07 Jun, 2016 by in katherine tegen books, YA book reviews, YA contemporary Leave a comment

I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Way Back to You

by Michelle Andreani, Mindi Scott
Published by Katherine Tegen on May 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Source: HarperTeen
Buy the BookGoodreads
For fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, a witty, poignant novel about second chances, letting go, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident. Her best friend, Cloudy, is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot out of character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again.

Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

 

Cover– Fits the story perfectly. Draws readers to buy the book

Story– Raw, emotional and sad at times as two teens deal with the death of their best friend. There are questions of life after death, swallowing emotion and loyalty to loved ones.

What I Loved– The road trip element and the changes it brings in both Cloudy and Kyle to get away, serve someone else, and grieve together instead of going at it alone. The emotional moments meeting organ donor recipients.

What I Struggled With– The way the teen died. Some of the story may be triggering for anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one in the recent past. It can be heavy. There is a lot of dialogue about what lies after this life. May call in to question basic beliefs for Christian teens.

Family Relationships-Teens with strong bonds to their siblings and cousin. There is also great conversations going on between father and son. It’s not shiny and happy, but it’s real.

Fun Fact–  I know one of the authors Michelle Adreani. She and I have spent fun times in New York City and New Jersey at BEA, conventions. Michelle is amazing inside an out!

Overall- You will cry. It takes a lot for me as a reader to get emotional. Heartwarming feel good ending to a tough subject.

Content-highlight to reveal Drug use, making out, talk of sexual relationships, LGBTQ teen relationship, heavy swearing in first chapters including “F’ word

 

 

about_ the_author

Hi! I’m Michelle.

I was born in New York City, and have never lived anywhere else. (I should maybe try at some point? What’s your town like? Does it have weird bugs?)

I first learned to drive a car when I was in my twenties, which is totally normal because I’m a New Yorker, I swear! I also have two agoraphobic cats who would not be great at road trips, honestly, but they make up for that with extreme cuteness.

I am a liker of many things. These things include staying in, going out dancing, love stories, beach air, milkshakes, pop songs, and Luna Lovegood.

 

Mindi Scott lives near Seattle, Washington, USA with her drummer husband in a house with a non-sound-proof basement. Freefall, her first novel, was published by Simon Pulse in 2010. Her second novel, Live Through This, was published (also by Simon Pulse) in 2012. She contributed a chapter to Violent Ends, a collaborative novel written by 17 young adult authors (out in 2015), and co-wrote, along with Michelle Andreani, the 2016 novel The Way Back to You. She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.

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Wanderlost by Jen Malone~ Breview

01 Jun, 2016 by in harperteen, YA book reviews, YA contemporary 1 comment

Wanderlost

by Jen Malone
Published by Harper Teen on May 31, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
three-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the Book
Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe. A romantic and charming YA debut perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

 

Why I Chose This Book- Title and cover. Who doesn’t want to get away and wander for summer?

Family Relationships- Healthy and evolving. I really liked how the parents were involved and present. Neither family was perfect, but they were making improvements. There was a strong sisterly bond and grandmother, grandson care taking relationship.

Setting- Europe! You don’t get much dreamier than that! Unfortunately, it felt like the author was telling me about the places instead of showing me through sights, smells and tastes. I just finished reading Love and Gelato, another contemp YA, so I had fresh in my mind what Italy was like. Wanderlost didn’t take me away to the places described.

Bothersome- As a reader, I had a hard time believing Aubree’s parents would let her stay in Europe after she is busted. Not likely. Also, there is the token LGBT character which, to be honest, came out of nowhere and was not actively involved in the plot in any way.

What I Liked- The phone conversations between Sam and Aubree were perfect and I wish they would have continued for a while longer. They have a great chemistry. Sam is my favorite of the bunch. He’s humble, cheerful, self confident and home schooled. I love that we are starting to see more home schooled (and normal) main characters in YA.

Content- (highlight to reveal) Lots of kissing and some heavy making out in a hotel room, underage drinking

 

 

about_ the_author
Jen Malone once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on Stevie Nicks’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. She is a former Hollywood film publicist and current college professor who lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children and (someday, when she wears her husband down) a pet hedgehog.

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Silence by Deborah Lytton Blog Tour

03 Mar, 2015 by in Deborah Lytton, Shadow Mountain, YA contemporary, young adult fiction 1 comment

I received this book for free from Shadow Mountain in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Silence by Deborah Lytton Blog Tour

Silence

by Deborah Lytton
Published by Shadow Mountain on March 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
four-half-stars
Source: Shadow Mountain
Buy the BookGoodreads
Stella was born to sing. Someday Broadway. Even though she is only a sophomore at a new high school, her voice has given her the status as a cool kid. But then a tragic accident renders her deaf. She cannot hear herself sing not to mention speak. She cannot hear anything. Silence. What happens when everything you have dreamed of and hoped for is shattered in a single moment?

Enter Hayden, the boy with blonde curls who stutters. He is treated like an outcast because he is not normal. And, yet, Stella feels an attraction to him that she cannot explain. As Hayden reaches out to help Stella discover a world without sound his own tragic past warns him to keep a distance. But their connection is undeniable. Can the boy who stutters and the girl whose deaf find a happily-ever-after?

SILENCE is a story of friendship and hope with a lesson that sometimes it takes a tragedy to help us find beauty and love in unexpected places.

There are so many things to love about Silence by Deborah Lytton. It’s a clean contemporary YA story of a two disabled students who find redemption and healing in their friendship, and then, ultimately find love. Stella is a High School drama student on the rise with a gift that just might be her ticket to popularity–her voice. When an accident leaves Stella deaf, she has to look at how life will change wihout the ability to hear and sing. Enter Hayden Rivers who stutters and is a social outcast. He carries a story of his own involving abuse and selective mutism. The two together, make a wonderful team.

The language of Silence is very poetic,which at times slowed the pace of the story, but by the last half of the book I was completely hooked. I stayed up long past my bed time to finish. I do wish the main protagonist was older than 15. Their relationship seemed to move from friendship to a mature eternal love in a short 17 days and would be more fitting for an older teen. Overall, I loved this one and will pass it on to others highly recommended.

about_ the_author

Deborah Lytton is an established writer who began her work life as an actress at the age of six. She graduated from UCLA debby-lytton-2015-1 and Pepperdine University with a degree in law before becoming a writer. She lives in California with her two daughters and is an active blogger and member of SCBWI. FInd her at http://www.deborahlytton.com/

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ARC Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

21 Apr, 2014 by in bloomsbury, book review, kristin rae, netgalley, YA book reviews, YA contemporary 3 comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Wish You Were Italian

by Kristin Rae
Series: If Only #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA on May 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 323
Format: eARC
four-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Pippa is in Italy for the summer and, despite her parents’ wishes, she has no intention of just studying the local art! She has a list of things of her own to do: from swimming in the Mediterranean Sea to getting a makeover – and falling for an Italian boy! As Pippa explores the dramatic ruins of Rome and Pompeii, she is swept into her own drama with two guys: an irresistible local she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student . . . Will she find her true love?

The perfect reckless romance to enjoy whether you are home or abroad.

Another really fun summer read. Wish You Were Italian is light, fun and clean. Plus, you get to see Italy though the eyes of Pippa, a 17 year old on her own adventure. Pippa’s mom owns and art gallery and is usually fully immersed in her own work, so Pippa’s not surprised when she gets sent away for  the summer to an art history program through an Italian program. But once Pippa touches down in a strange and exciting country she decides not to conform to her mother’s wishes– she’s off on her own sight seeing trip to take photos of all the places she’s ever wanted to see! It helps that she bumps into Darren, a cute archaeological student with unruly hair and a sweet personality. And then, there’s several dares written in a journal from her best friend back home that lead her to do things she’s never dared to do before. Like cutting her ties, her future plans and seeing the world on her own. I love that Pippa stays grounded by checking in with her grandmother. She has a great relationship with at least one adult. at home and another in Italy.

I lived vicariously through her as she ate gelato, toured the collosseum, lived in a fishing town full of color by the coast and met a local Italian boy who makes sparks fly. The two main men in this story are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in personality and it makes for a fun, not annoying love triangle. This is one I would buy and pass on to my daughters. There is some tension and kissing, but no parental content that made me uncomfortable. Highly recommend! Awesome way to tour Italy through the pages of a book!

heather Kristin_Rae

Author Bio

From Kristin Rae’s Website

YA writer.
I’m represented by Marietta B. Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency, and my debut YA contemporary WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN will be published May 6, 2014 by Bloomsbury.
 
Chocolate addict.
Cake, cupcakes, cookies, hot drinks, Cadbury Mini Eggs. I don’t discriminate.  

Book hoarder.
I go to a lot of author events. I wind up with a lot of books. Hey, that wall could use a bookshelf.
 
 
Crafter.
Oil painting, watercolors, paper crafts.
 
Eater of pizza.
Cheese. Mushroom. Red pepper flakes.

Kdrama and Kpop convert.
If you have to ask, you are missing out on one of life’s most enjoyable time wasters. 
 
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ARC Breview: The Geography of You and Me

07 Apr, 2014 by in jennifer e smith, poppy, YA book reviews, YA contemporary 4 comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Breview: The Geography of You and Me

The Geography of You and Me

by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on April 15th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
three-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too

Girl and boy get stuck in a New York elevator in a power outage then roam the city in search of ice cream. Sounds romantic? I thought so, and when Poppy send an advanced copy of The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith, I jumped on the chance to read it. Jennifer is one of my all time favorite contemporary YA authors. If you haven’t read her book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, you must do so now! Stop reading and go find a copy…

But, back to The Geography of You and Me. Owen is living in a Manhattan apartment with his father who is the new maintenance man. They’re trying so hard to make ends meet, but are both kind of lost after losing their mother. Lucy is home alone again for the weekend, while mom and dad are off traveling. Both are so close to the cusp of adulthood and big decision like college. They make quick and fast friends facing a blackout together with no parents around in the emergency to help. But, life moves on when the lights come back on. They find themselves in different parts of the country and opposite parts of the world, with a heart string tying them together.

The Geography of You and Me is subtle and poetic, it’s not a cute, light read, but not overly heavy either. It’s subtle. Overall, I wish I felt more connected to the main characters. I loved Liam, a boy Lucy meets in Edinburgh and wanted to live in that moment. I wanted to hear and feel lots more than Lucy did. I just didn’t have the connection or internalize the spark that drew Lucy and Owen together across all the miles and circumstances. I DID like all the settings…San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Scotland. What’s not to love? But I wanted to BE there. This book left me with an unresolved longing. Not my favorite I’ve read of Jennifer’s but still one I would pick up and re-read again to try to catch the poetry hidden in the pages. It was clean and the teens have a relationship with their parents– both great positives.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for the sneak peek!

About the Author

Jennifer E Smith

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

Website * Twitter

Read the first 5 chapter free on Amazon
!

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ARC Review: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend

05 Feb, 2014 by in book review, Uncategorized, YA contemporary, YA fiction 2 comments

I received this book for free from Feiwel and Friends in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend

by Katie Finn
on May 13, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
four-half-stars
Source: Feiwel and Friends
Buy the BookGoodreads
Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long?

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?

Katie Finn hits all the right notes in this perfect beginning to a new summer series: A Broken Hearts & Revenge novel.

Summer time, the Hamptons, a cute boy and a case of a mistaken identity…check. Unexpected twist ending which leaves reader in a  cliffhanger…check! Fun, YA contemp that you can breeze through while on vacation…yes.

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend kept a smile on my face almost the entire time I was reading. Gemma is sent to stay with her father for the summer while her mom and step dad are off to Scotland. But she dreads the Hamptons! Scene of a huge life changing summer that snowballed into a lot of hurt, she’s trying to avoid the place of her crime. But when she meets a cute boy on the bus and his sister comes to pick him up the cat is out of the bag…or not.

Gemma is desperately hoping her nemesis Hallie won’t remember who she is,  and that the name printed on her coffee cup can be her alter identity for the time being while she explores things with Josh.

But things just keep getting weirder and weirder! A babysitting job turned nightmare, food poisoning, stolen shoes and a malfunctioning swimsuit are among the crazy happenings that keep Gemma on her toes. She keeps falling into such embarassing situations that publicly humiliate her, yet Josh seems to truly care. And Gemma finds herself drawn to him even though sister Hallie has warned her not to hurt him. Josh is a keeper!

I loved the writing, the characters and the ultimate lesson that honesty always is the best policy. While it is somewhat predictable there is enough of a plot twist that I predict readers will be pulled in for the entire series, not just book one. I would like to feel, smell and hear more about the setting in the next books as the Hamptons are perfect for summer.

I would recommend Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend. Add it to your reading list!

Content (highlight to reveal): one swear word, bullying.

heather

About The Author

katie_finn
Katie Finn grew up in Connecticut, in a town that looks an awful lot like Putnam. During high school, she was a total theater devotee (like Madison) and never dreamed she’d be a writer. But lots of Katie’s high school misadventures have made it into her books…which just goes to show that you never know!

She currently lives in Los Angeles, California, in a house she wishes was a lot closer to the beach.

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Paris Cravings Cover Reveal, Review and Giveaway

01 Feb, 2014 by in Cover Reveal-, paris, YA contemporary 1 comment

I received this book for free from Elana Johnson in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Paris Cravings Cover Reveal, Review and Giveaway

Paris Cravings

by Kimberley Montpetit
Published by Spellbound Books on February 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 205
Format: eARC
four-stars
Source: Elana Johnson
Buy the BookGoodreads
Can life really turn on a dime,
a missed bus—
or a stuck pastry shop door?

Chloe Dillard’s life has always been complicated. Her mother is a neurotic romance novelist and her boyfriend, Mathew, has been pressuring her to go “all the way”—even as one of her own best friends offers to accommodate him.

But after The Worst Night of Her Life, Chloe escapes on her Senior Class trip to the swoon-worthy city of Paris which takes her mind off her troubles—temporarily. On the final leg of her dream trip, Chloe squeezes in one final run for a last-minute box of decadent pastries. Add a stuck door, subtract a broken four-inch heel from her cute strappy sandals, and Chloe ends up one stuck girl on the bakery shop floor with a sprained ankle.

Rescued by the shop owner’s dreamy son with chocolate-syrup eyes, the beautiful city of Paris suddenly becomes Chloe’s personal secret adventure. And even though Jean-Paul, the oh-so-kind La Patisserie shop boy is the gentlemanly guy Chloe has always dreamed of, even he has a girlfriend.

The police are tracking her down as a run-away, Mom’s having a nervous breakdown over her daughter’s “disappearance”, and Chloe’s just trying to have a Happily-Ever-After even as her dreams with Matt are swirling down the drain.

Could being lost in the city of Paris be just what the doctor ordered? What’s a girl to do in the most romantic city in the world?

Who can resist a book set in Paris amidst a Patisserie shop full of eclairs and pastries?! I’m excited this is a series, because anything with a bakery involved and I am in! Paris Carvings started out with a girl, a big box, some high heels and a mishap with a door. Insert cute worker with Hershey brown eyes, a French accent and a missing passport and you have the beginnings of romance.

Chloe is about to leave her summer student exchange program in Paris when a mishap leaves her stranded and covered in whipped cream. But once she discovers just how nice the locals can be she doesn’t ever want to leave! The trick is evading her tour group’s hired henchman and her nervous mother while touring the dreamy Paris sites with her new- found “friend.”

This is a feel good contemporary with a fun setting. There is a secondary story line of how Chloe deals with her boyfriend back home, written in flashback chapters of their relationship past to present. These were my least favorite parts of the novel as her BF is such a jerk! Red flags flying everywhere! But, overall this is a fun diversion. You can smell, taste and fell the warmth of a Paris bakery. Take me away to France please!

Content: (highlight to reveal)  Definitely a read for older teens as there is much discussion of sex, innuendo and avoiding peer pressure. There is a hinting at coercion and sensuality. I was a bit distracted also by the taking of the Lord’s name in vain which I don’t like to read.

 

heather

 

About The AuthorKimberley_Montpetit

Kimberley Montpetit once spent all her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops when she was in Paris—on the arm of her adorable husband. The author grew up in San Francisco, another swoon-worthy city, loves all things Parisian and chocolate and lives in a small town along the Rio Grande with her family.

Kimberley has won many awards for her work, including the Southwest Book Award, the Whitney Award, the Arizona/New Mexico Book Award, is a Crystal Kite Finalist (SCBWI) and included in the Bank Street College Best Books of the Year.

She once stayed in a haunted castle tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland, sailed on the Seine in Paris, walked the beaches of Normandy, eaten in numerous French cafes, ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan, sunbathed on Waikiki, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

She adores all baked goodies; brownies, éclairs, donuts, tarts, and pie, and makes a lot of chocolate chip cookies while revising. Kimberley is, of course, hard at work on her next novel(s).

Learn More

Website * FacebookTwitter * Goodreads

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YA Review- My Butterfly by Laura Miller

25 Jun, 2013 by in My Butterfly, Romance, YA contemporary Leave a comment

My Butterfly 
by Laura Miller
Paperback 355 pages
Published June 11, 2013
by Createspace 
ISBN 1481089854
Series: Butterfly Weends #2
Genre: YA
Contemporary, Romance
Book Source: author
4.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: From the national bestselling novel Butterfly Weeds comes the other side of the story…
About the man behind the song.

Will Stephens doesn’t chase dreams outside of his small, Missouri town. He’s perfectly happy with his high school sweetheart in his arms, his guitar and his quiet, summer nights. But life for Will is about to change. He’s about to find out what it’s like to chase a dream—one he has loved since he first laid eyes on her.

A firefighter by day and a musician by night, Will balances his dangerous career with his weekend gigs, but his mind is never far from Julia Lang. They said their goodbyes years ago, but Will now hopes a song from their past will help Julia stop and remember a life they once shared together. His only fear is that he’s waited too long to get his song to her ears.


Review: Every once in a while a good old fashioned small town romance comes along and reminds you of the slow burning love of country life. Having not read book one in this series, Butterfly Weeds, I wasn’t sure of the other side of this story but I loved and understood every bit of book two.  Julia ad Will are childhood friends, playing in front of the local store and trying to steal rides on a tractor, but they lose track of each other until she waltzes back in to his High School and takes his heart back by storm. She’s the daughter of money, a track star and a future law student who wants to fulfill her career aspirations. Will on the other hand, is a small town boy with his roots deep in the Missouri soil. He’s not in a hurry to leave or to change his career choice as a fireman just because Julia thinks it’s too dangerous. He has the voice of an angel and a persistence that finally catches his butterfly. But she has a mind of her own and wings to fly away. Will’s life is now haunted by her face, her tough and so many memories they’ve wound together. Can Julia ever find her way back home, back to him?

My Butterfly tugged at my heart and made me long for a simpler time and place. It is a sweet, down to earth tale of love lost and the efforts to rekindle it. I enjoyed the slow, steady pace and the home spun characters that could very well be someone you know. I am definitely going to check out book one now that I’ve had a feel for Laura Miller’s writing. You’ll want to keep some tissues close at hand for the epilogue!

Content: Clean, no sex or violence, a few minor swear words.



Marc-Mayes Photography

About the author: Laura Miller was born in the Missouri River Bottoms in Berger, Mo., but grew up in New Haven, Mo., and attended the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou). While in college, Laura was a 400-meter and 600-yard runner on the University’s track and field team. She later graduated from Mizzou with a degree in newsprint journalism and spent years as a newspaper reporter, covering government and business news, before starting to write fiction.

Laura spent some time in San Diego, Calif., and Charleston, S.C., before moving back to the Midwest in 2011. She now lives in Columbia, Mo., with her husband, a TV meteorologist and former Mizzou 800-meter runner.
Laura’s debut novel, Butterfly Weeds, hit the Amazon Best-Seller’s List in October 2012, while her latest novel, My Butterfly released in June 2013. When she’s not working on her next book, Laura can be found chasing after her latest obsession, her one-year-old nephew, or lost in a good book.

Learn more on the website/ facebook/ twitter/ goodreads/ YouTube

Purchase: 

YA Review- This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith

01 Mar, 2013 by in poppy, This Is What Happy Looks Like, YA contemporary 3 comments

This Is What Happy Looks Like
by Jennifer E Smith
Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: April 2, 2013
by Poppy
ISBN 0316212822
book source: netgalley
4.5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?
Heather’s Review: It’s been months since I have accepted any books from publishers for review or logged onto NetGalley, but when I saw Jennifer E Smith’s newest book I could not resist. Her last, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is one of my all -time favorites. Smith’s writing is fresh, clean contemporary YA at its best.
What Happy Looks Like is set in a small town Maine home of the perfect fourth of July celebration and the state snack– whoopie pies. Ellie has never tasted one, but teen heart throb Graham is out to change that. He is convinced the two need to meet face to face after their chance email mix up turns into more. Graham is headed to Ellie’s home town (leaving his pet pig behind) on a mission to film his newest movie and run into her, the anonymous face behind the name. His initial plan of attack at her work ice cream store named “Scoops” backfires and he is not experiencing love at first sight like he thought he would. Things turn interesting when she proves to be even more mysterious and aloof than he predicted as Ellie and her mother have a past that needs to stay hidden.
You’ll grin from ear to ear at the lengths Graham will go to to steal some alone time with Ellie, and the storyline tugs at your heart stings as it emphasizes the important of family ties. The setting is magical…summertime in a resort village with just enough home spun charm. Smith’s style is poetic, witty and even slightly melancholy. There are questions left unanswered with an open ending where readers fill in the outcome.  I really wanted to dig deeper into the characters. Hoping here is a companion novel or sequel out there, even a novealla in the future. But for now I am thrilled with another oustanding read from Jennifer E Smith and am waiting for another of her books I ordered to come in my mailbox.
Pre-order This is What Happy Looks Like. It is a perfect ray of sunshine to beat the winter blahs!
Content is suited for teens 14 and up. One swear word, otherwise clean.

About the author: Jennifer E. Smith is the author of the three young adult novels: The Comeback Season, You Are Here, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City.

Book Review- Belles by Jen Calonita

30 Mar, 2012 by in YA contemporary 2 comments

Belles
by Jen Calonita
Ebook, 247 pages
Expected Publication Date: April 10th, 2012
by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN 0316091138
Book Source: Publisher
4 Stars
Book summary from Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she’s ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn’t go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn’t thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates’ Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls’ lives forever
Crystal’s Review: Isabelle has lived on the wrong side of the tracks her whole life. Not knowing her father and her mother having died in a car accident she has spent the majority of her live being raised by her grandmother in Harborside, North Carolina. While many people believe Harborside to be a dirty, dangerous place Isabelle loves it. She spends as much time as possible in the water where she feels the most comfortable. She is a swimmer, just like her mother was, and even spends her free time giving free swim lessons at the local community center. As much as she loves this place things at home are complicated. Her grandmothers health has been declining quickly and the days when her grandmother cant seem to remember her are happening more regularly. Then one day everything changes, Isabelle’s case worker Barbra shows up and tells her that her grandmother will be going to live in an old folks home and she will be going to live with her uncle, a senator, and his family in Emerald Cove. Isabelle struggles to fit in with her new family, especially her cousin Mirabelle who seems sunny on the outside but soon makes it obvious that Isabelle is just a pain in her side, and the snobby rich kids who attend her new private school are even worse. Eventually she begins to find her way but just as she feels like she may finally be getting the hand of this new life a secret is revealed that may be too much for her to handle. Belles is the touching story of the differences that can tear a family apart and what it takes to bring a family back together. This book also gets bonus points for being set in my home state of North Carolina! I would definitely be suggest this book to anyone looking for a good read.

Content: One scene of underage drinking
Crystal
About the Author: It’s no secret how Jen Calonita knows the inside scoop on young Hollywood. A former Senior Entertainment Editor at Teen People, Jen has interviewed everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Zac Efron. An entertainment journalist for the past ten years, Jen has written for TV Guide, Glamour and Marie Claire. It was her work in the entertainment world that inspired her first series, Secrets of My Hollywood Life. Jen has also published to stand-alone novels. When the self-professed entertainment junkie is not working, she can be found doing one of three things: scrapbooking, watching Glee, or going to the movies. Jen resides in Merrick, New York with her husband Mike, sons Tyler and Dylan and their Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow. Learn more on her website/ facebook/ twitter/ blog