Genre: Contemporary

Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson ~ Blog Tour

23 Oct, 2014 by in adult, covenant, melanie jacobson Leave a comment

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

Painting Kisses by Melanie Jacobson ~ Blog Tour

Painting Kisses

by Melanie Jacobson
Published by Covenant on October 2nd 2014
Genres: Adult, Clean Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: Covenant
Buy the BookGoodreads
Lia Carswell is good at what she does, even if it isn't as glamorous as her old artist life in Manhattan. The popular waitress works hard in a small Salt Lake City diner, with the goal of easing her sister's financial strain. And with her witty personality and good looks, she's something of an enigma to the male customers who vie for her attention. Ever the professional, Lia keeps her distance, with one exception. Aidan is a breakfast regular, and his gentle, clever teasing draws Lia's attention and builds an easy rapport between them, though Lia would never let their relationship get serious, especially since he's not the only one trying to catch her eye. Her handsome neighbor Griff has been hinting that he wants more than a neighborly relationship.

Then her old New York artist life comes knocking, and an offer is made for a series of commissioned paintings. Lia knows it would ensure financial security for her family, but she doesn't know if she wants that life anymore. When she undertakes one final project, she reawakens her heart and soul. And as she finds herself falling in love and needing an outlet more and more, she realizes her paintings might be her saving grace.
unnamed (4)

A New York artist flees back to the mountainous landscape of her youth to start over…as a cafe waitress. In saunters Aidan, a regular customer and his dog who flirts relentlessly trying to steal a date from Lia. But she has some sass of her own to throw back his way.

Griff is her next door neighbor, quiet and shy, but so good with Lia’s niece Chloe. She feels pulled to him, but in a completely different way than the sizzle that’s there with Aidan. Lia’s heart has walls up and two men are testing her hiatus from men. With a bucket load of banter and snark in a small town restaurant to the quiet solitude of oil painting on a mountainside, Painting Kisses is filled with detail. Gourmet foods, bright colors, linseed oil, and the rich texture of tiramisu will assault the readers senses. It took me quite a while to assimilate all the layers and feel them as the characters did, but I enjoyed the depth of the imagery present in the story. I at times found Lia’s personality a bit overpowering with sass, but overall I liked the ending and message! I would definitely recommend all of Melanie Jacobson’s books to fans of clean contemporary romance.

Content: Some kissing and tension, mention of prescription drug addiction and domestic abuse, but no violence.

The Tour Schedule

October  20th-25th:

About the AuthorMelaniepic

Melanie Bennett Jacobson is an avid reader, amateur cook, and champion shopper. She consumes astonishing amounts of chocolate, chick flicks, and romance novels. After meeting her husband online, she is now living happily married in Southern California with her growing family and a series of doomed houseplants. Melanie is a former English teacher and a popular speaker who loves to laugh and make others laugh. In her down time (ha!), she writes romantic comedies for Covenant and maintains her humorous slice-of-life blog. Her fourth novel, Smart Move, hits shelves in October.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hit by Lorie Ann Grover~ Blog Tour & Review

09 Oct, 2014 by in blinkYA, blog tour, book review, christian, Hit, Lorie Ann Grover Leave a comment

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

Hit by Lorie Ann Grover~ Blog Tour & Review

Hit

by Lorie Ann Grover
Published by BlinkYA on October 7, 2014
Genres: Christian, Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
four-half-stars
Source: BookSparksPR
Buy the BookGoodreads
After receiving a full-ride scholarship to Mills College for Girls, it appears Sarah's future is all laid out before her … but then she walks into a poetry class led by Mr. Haddings, a student teacher from the nearby University of Washington. Suddenly, life on the UW campus seems very appealing, and Sarah finds herself using her poetry journal to subtly declare her feelings for Mr. Haddings. And she becomes convinced Mr. Haddings is flirting back. As she sets off for school in the rain, she slips a poem in her back pocket—one that will declare her feelings once and for all.Mr. Haddings has noticed Sarah's attention; the fallout from any perceived relationship with a student is too great a risk, and he has decided to end all speculation that morning. But everything changes when Mr. Haddings feels the thud on his front bumper when he glances away from the road and finds Sarah in the street with blood pooling beneath her.

This is this first novel I have read by Lorie Ann Grover, but not the first in the Blink YA imprint. I was thrilled to pick up another clean YA contemporary read with Christian undertones. The story line took me aback at first because it is about a student and graduate student teacher who feel attracted to one another. That is usually an automatic DNF for me, because I just can’t stomach student-teacher relationships in any form. However, in Hit this is not the main focus of the story line and told from two points of view, you get a full picture that this is more a story about grief, trauma and forgiveness. There is truly something magical about this book that defies description. It is short, easy to read and simplistic, yet deep. At the end I felt transformed and wanted to read more. Author Lorie Ann Grover weaves in poetry with raw straight to the point realities of the aftermath at a car accident scene and the immediate consequences. I do wish the ending were a bit longer, or not so neatly tied up. I’m not sure if the finished version is different form the uncorrected bound proof, but I missed how the victim came to know the driver was her teacher Hastings. It seemed some of the story was cut or left out.

 Hit is based on the real life experience of the author’s best friend who’s child was also hit at an intersection. It makes you think twice about distracted driving and how quickly life can change. I’m not sure how Grover got me there–to the point of loving this book and wanting a sequel, but she did! I am sad that there is not a book two in the works at this time (please, please write an epilogue or novella). This is a strong standalone.

about_ the_author

Lorie-Ann-Grover Lorie Ann Grover is a co-founder of the influential site readergirlz, where she is a visible advocate for teen literacy and activism. In addition, she is the author of four acclaimed novels: Firstborn, Hold Me Tight, a VOYA pick; On Pointe, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year; and Loose Threads, a Booklist Top 10 Youth First Novel and a 2003 Washington state Book Award Finalist. Lorie Ann lives in Washington State with her husband. Read more at www.lorieanngrover.com

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Review ~ Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston

13 Aug, 2014 by in ala, amy clipston, book review, Zondervan Leave a comment

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

Review ~ Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston

Destination Unknown

by Amy Clipston
Published by Zondervan on February 4, 2014
Genres: Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: ALA, Zondervan
Buy the BookGoodreads
It’s senior year, and Whitney Richards is tired of the constant pressures to be perfect. When she gets a D in Calculus, her mother immediately hires a tutor, worried Whitney won’t get into the “right” college---her alma mater---with imperfect grades. Her tutor, Taylor, is a quiet, mysterious boy who is unlike anyone Whitney has met before. But Taylor’s rougher upbringing has her mother and friends discouraging any type of relationship. Tired of having to play a part for everyone else, Whitney quits the cheerleading squad that once defined her social identity, and begins spending more time with Taylor. Her mom and friends worry Whitney is making a huge mistake, and even Taylor begins to show concern for some of her choices. But for the first time, Whitney is in the driver’s seat of her life. Will she be able to find her identity---and God’s plan for her life---before she throws everything away?

I picked up a copy of Destination Unknown from the Zondervan booth at ALA in Las Vegas this year. I know I can always count on Zondervan for high quality, clean Christian reads. Destination Unknown is the second in a series about cousins, but having not read the first, I had no problem picking it up and loving it! So, really it’s more of a companion novel. Author Amy Clipston does an excellent job exploring the painful process of “finding oneself” as teen and separating your wishes from the pressure of peers and the expectations of parents. Whitney is in her senior year, coasting by as head cheerleader, and up until this point she’s been the perfect child. 4.0 student, accepted into a prestigious college, with the popular football player boyfriend. A domino effect of events including a “D” in calculus causes a shift. Suddenly she’s painfully aware that her mom’s plans for her life may not be the same as her own and maybe her “friends” and true friends after all.

Whitney starts a downward spiral of small rebellions against her uber strict mother, and spends a lot of time on her knees. I absolutely love when teen titles encourage prayer. Christian behavior vs. church going Christian by name only  is also explored. I will be passing this book on to my daughters and purchasing the author’s other titles. I highly recommend it as a clean, contemporary read that hits on so many things: coming of age, bullying, repentance and loyalty without being heavy handed. Loved it!

 

heather

 

about_ the_author

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy 2765728holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at www.amyclipston.com Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks Twitter: @AmyClipston

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Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

01 May, 2014 by in catch a falling star, kim culbertson, netgalley, scholastic, young adult fiction 5 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.

Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Catch a Falling Star

by Kim Culbertson
Published by Scholastic on April 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
four-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

I’ve been on a contemporary YA kick lately looking for sweet, summer reads. Catch A Falling Star is just that! Small town girl Carter Moon lives in Little California and works in her parents’ sandwich shop. She’s perfectly happy with the way her life is now. No need to go off to New York or explore the world. She has roots in her town. Carter teaches the elderly dance classes and is not at all fazed when movie star Adam Jakes rolls in to town to shoot his latest movie. Adam is your typical arrogant child star turned young adult. He gets what he want s and he has an attitude. Carter’s best friend Chloe is the adoring fan, with poster plastered all over her walls. So no one is more shocked when Adam seems to take a liking to Carter. How did her friend make the radar and the cut to become Adam’s girlfriend?

Delicately yet realistically exploring addiction and the masks we all wear, Catch a Falling Star is a clean, sweet YA. We get a very clear picture of Carter, but not much fleshing out of Adam or the other side characters. I would have loved to know more about each of them! Carter had a functional relationship with her parents, she is down-to-earth and likable. She has the hard decision all seniors must make in the summer after high school. What to do, where to go to college, to take a gap year or to stay at home? In the vein of Wish You Were Italian and Jennifer E Smith books, Catch a Falling Star ended with a twist, and left me with a smile on my face. A cute read with some great poetic passages peppered through out. Thanks to Scholastic and Netgalley for the sneak peek!

Content: suitable for younger YA readers– boy taking off his shirt a few times, drinking at a party and kissing.

kim_culbertson

heatherAbout the Author

Sourcebooks Fire published Kim’s award winning first YA novel Songs for a Teenage Nomad (2010, originally Hip Pocket Press, 2007) and her second YA novel Instructions for a Broken Heart (2011) which was named a Booklist 2011 Top Ten Romance Title for Youth and won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction. Her third YA novel Catch a Falling Star will be published by Scholastic on April 29, 2014. When she’s not writing for teens, she’s teaching them. She’s a college advisor and teaches creative writing at Forest Charter School. Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students who, over the years, have taught her much more than she has taught them. Kim lives in the Northern California foothills with her husband and daughter.

Learn more on her website*facebook* twitter

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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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Early Book Breview~ Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

01 Apr, 2014 by in HarperCollins, new adult, royally lost 2 comments

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

Early Book Breview~ Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Royally Lost

by Angie Stanton
Published by HarperCollins on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
three-stars
Source: Edelweiss
Buy the BookGoodreads
What would it be like to fall in love with a prince?

Dragged on a family trip to Europe's ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, overeager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is, until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for—he's a crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't have . . . is freedom. After staging a revolt, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it's their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say good-bye when his destiny catches up to him, or will they change history forever?

If you’re looking for a a light, fluffy summer book that can be read quickly, Royally Lost is a great pick. It’s the story of one family on vacation in Europe trying to “bond”, and a runaway prince from Moldovia who isn’t quite ready to claim the throne.  Becca and her brother Dylan have had it with their workaholic father and the recorded tours on the stops of their cruise. They are ready to break off on their own and explore all that Europe has to offer. Nikolai spots Becca, a gorgeous American girl by chance and the two keep running into each other. Can he convince her to stow away with him?

It’s a case of instant crush turned love for Becca and Nikolai. While dodging papperazzi and trying to fend off security from Nioklai’s country, these two love birds are in for an adventure. Meanwhile there are new adult themes of choosing a college and career, breaking the ties with mom and dad, loyalty to siblings and choosing one’s one path. There’s also the side plot of trying to form a relationship with a new step mother after the loss of a mom. Overall, this wasn’t overly deep or moving. It’s an easy read, and I wish the characters would have dug deeper into exploring and taking their rich setting…Costa Rica, Budapest. There are so  many thing to see along their path! I wasn’t super attached, as I felt things could have been fleshed out a little more, but I did enjoy Royally Lost.  Overall, a fun new “close to clean” addition to the New Adult genre.

Content: (highlight to reveal) mention of skinny dipping, swimming in underwear, drinking, lying to parents, moderate swearing

heather

About the AuthorAngies-Professional-Head-Shots-003-e1378407382251

Angie Stanton never planned on writing books—she wanted to be a Rockette. However, growing up in rural America with her brothers’ 4-H pigs as pets, she found that dance didn’t quite work out. Instead, she became an avid daydreamer. After years of perfecting stories in her head, she began to write them down, and the rest is history. When not writing, she loves watching natural disaster movies, going to Broadway musicals, and dipping French fries in chocolate shakes. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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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

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The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

20 Jan, 2014 by in alyssa b sheinmel, ARC, Farrar Straus Giroux, macmillan, peter pan, reimagining, summer 2 comments

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

ARC Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Second Star

by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on May 13th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
five-stars
Source: Farrar Straus Giroux
Buy the BookGoodreads
A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

Wow. Where to even begin with this book?!! I sat down to read it, and never got up. Read straight past my bed time, into the night, until turning the very last page. For me, the writing was absolutely enchanting and dreamlike–a fairy tale shimmering to life in a modern day retelling by the beach. By far, the most magical book I’ve read in a very long time.

Wendy Darling’s world is shattered when her twin brothers go missing after going surfing and then never come back. Her parents are shells of themselves, merely passing through the motions of life. Wendy, in the mean time, is convinced her brothers are still out there somewhere.

She’s a straight A student– Stanford bound in fact,  but Wendy feels the tug of the ocean, the whispers of her brothers.

A chance meeting with a beautiful boy named Pete leads her to Kensington. Once the home of millionaires, now an abandoned neighborhood clinging dangerously close to the edge of a cliff backed up to the ocean. Wendy is sure her brothers could have known this very spot where the perfect waves crash in and the tide washes away the path that leads back home. She is inexplicably drawn to the salty air and fire-lit nights.

Second Star brought me back to my senior year in California and the summers in between. Taking weekends at lazy beach towns, finding warm sand between my toes and then shaking it all out again to head back to school, the sunny days and carefree atmosphere.

Pete is perfect. He’s exactly what you would imagine a modern day Peter Pan to be. Belle, his moody, angry girlfriend has secrets of her own. The other lost boys,  Hughie and Matt come together to form their own makeshift family. But, there is a very real threat living on the other side of the beach.

Jas.

He can hook you with his lies, his dust and his enigmatic pull. The love triangle all happens so fast you won’t know what hit.

Wendy finds herself doing things she would never normally do, and second guessing her mind as she chases the second star in search of the truth. Lines between reality and dream becomes blurred (as often happens with trauma, love and loss),  so much so that even the reader is not sure what is fact and what is imagining.

I’m guessing this is a standalone, because of the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything for readers. But suffice it to say, Second Star is a twisty, turvy ride that will suck you in, pull you under and spit you back out wanting another wave. It takes everything you think you know and shakes it up– but for me it was perfect.

Highly recommend Second Star. If you are looking for it to stick to your pre-conceived notions about the well known childhood story of Peter Pan, you may be disappointed– but if you want  amazing writing, here you’ll find fast paced story spinning at its best. Thanks so much to Ksenia at MacMillan Teen Books for sending me this treasure!

My advice… head over to NetGalley and request it. Preorder and add Second Star to your wishlist NOW.

Content: Due to this being such an early review I  won’t list specifics yet. There are several elements of mature content but not in so much detail that it was bothersome to me, will release the parental warnings after the book is published.

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Excerpt

Sitting as far from Jas as possible, my body pressed against the passenger- side door, I close my eyes and let a memory wash over me–a memory, I’m certain this time, not a dream: Pete’s chin resting on the small of my back as we paddle out to take a wave. The board sticky with wax beneath me as I pull myself to stand. The ocean dropping out below us as the board slides into place beneath the crest of the wave. And  the sensation that I’m flying, weightless and carefree,with no one on the planet except Pete and me, no one else know exactly what this feels like.

Author Bioalyssa_b_sheinmel

I was born in Stanford, California, and even though I moved across the country to New York when I was six years old, I still think of myself as a California girl.

When I was little, I pretended that I didn’t like to read, because my sister loved to read, and I wanted to be different. (I also pretended that I didn’t like pizza, because it was her favorite food, I still get sad when I think of all the delicious pizza dinners I missed out on.) By the time I was eight, it was too hard to pretend I didn’t like to read, because the truth was that reading was my favorite thing in the world. I loved it so much that when there was nothing to read, I wrote my own stories just to give myself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, I made up stories and acted them out by myself. I played all the parts, and I was never bored.

When I was eleven years old, I began going to a school in Manhattan called Spence. The teachers there were very supportive of my reading and writing. One teacher there encouraged me to read F. Scott Fitzgerald, and another introduced me to magical realism, and another tried to convince me that there was more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing. (She was right, of course.) And still another let me write a sequel to one of my favorite novels and call it a school project, even though I would have done in my spare time just for the fun of it.

After Spence, I went across town to Barnard College. Once again, I had some of the best teachers in the world encouraging me to write, and introducing me to new authors. One of my very favorite teachers told me to read Joan Didion (and I didn’t thank him enough for that), and my other favorite insisted that there was nothing more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing (and I argued with her a lot about that).

After college, I got a job working in an office where I wore high heels and blazers and even the occasional stiff-collared blouse. I thought I would write on the side, but after a while,I stopped writing altogether – for over a year, I didn’t write a word except in my journal, a very strange thing for a girl who wrote stories from pretty much the time that she learned how to hold a pen.

But then, when I was 24, I began working at a new job, and the people there introduced me to great new writers, just like the teachers I’d had in school. I began to miss writing. It was boring when I wasn’t making up stories to keep myself entertained. And so – slowly, just for the fun of it – I began writing again, and in a couple years I had written the story that would become The Beautiful Between.

I still don’t write every day; sometimes I get caught up in other things, and sometimes I’d just rather park myself in front of the TV and watch reruns of The West Wing. But I always find my way back to my computer; I always remember just how much fun writing really is. And the great thing about writing – at least in my experience – is that it comes out best when you’re doing it for the very, very fun of it.

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