Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: A Most Extraordinary Pursuit

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray
Pub. Date: October 4, 2016

Goodreads says, "As the personal secretary of the recently departed Duke of Olympia—and a woman of good character—Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove never expected to be steaming through the Mediterranean on a luxuriously appointed yacht under the watchful and jovial eye of one Lord Silverton. But here they are, as improper as it is, on a quest to find the duke’s heir, whereabouts unknown. An expert on anachronisms, the adventurous Maximilian Haywood was last seen at an archaeological dig on the island of Crete. And when Truelove and Silverton disembark, they are met with incidents of a violent nature: a ransacked flat, a murdered government employee, an assassination attempt. And as they steam from port to port on Max’s trail, dodging danger at every turn, Truelove will discover the folly of her misconceptions—about the whims of the heart, the desires of men, and the nature of time itself..."
Did you guys know that Juliana Gray is a pseudonym for Beatriz Williams? I'll read anything she writes and this novel sounds pretty great. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Pining For

This week's Top Ten Tuesday can be any one of the backlist topics, so I chose to discuss the top ten books that I am dying to read in 2016.  The second half of the year has some promising books coming out. I can't wait to get my hands on the following:

Adult Fiction:
1.  The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown
2.  Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
3.  Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory
4.  The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen
5.  The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger

Young Adult Fiction:
1.  The Graces by Laure Eve
2.  This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
3.  Illusion (Heirs of Watson Island #3) by Martina Boone
4.  Heartless by Marissa Meyer
5.  Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

What do you guys think? What books with publication dates for the second half of the year are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.  This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review: The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine

Pages: 352
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Balzar & Bray
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "From Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction, comes a funny and heartfelt summer romance set in New Jersey. Perfect for fans of Sarah Mlynowski, Jenny Han, and Morgan Matson.  Cassidy Emmerich is reeling from a sudden, humiliating breakup. The last thing she wants to do is stick around and be reminded of her ex everywhere she goes. On impulse, she decides to spend the summer with her father and his family at their Jersey Shore bed-and-breakfast. A different scene and a new job working as a camp counselor seem like the perfect recipe for forgetting Gavin as quickly as possible—not to mention for avoiding him until he leaves for college.   Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with a girl and have her put her head on your shoulder. Last year he made one false move—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. But this summer, he’s back at his camp job and is determined to reclaim his independence—and his confidence.  Cass is expecting two months of healing her broken heart.  Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.  Neither is expecting to fall in love."

Cassidy Emmerich's boyfriend, Gavin, cheated on her and she is devastated.  She was supposed to spend the summer with him, but obviously, plans have changed.  Cassidy, or Cass, wants to get away from it all, so she decides to spend the summer with her father's family at the Jersey Shore. She couldn't think of a better place to heal her heart.  She gets a job working as a camp counselor and in turn, meets a lot of new people, including Bryan Lakewood.  Bryan isn't your average teenager though. Due to an unfortunate accident, he is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair.  He also has many obstacles facing him this summer; he is trying to gain his confidence back and in walks Cass who gives him butterflies.  Robin Constantine's The Season of You and Me stole my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed this beach read.

I really liked Cass from the get-go in The Season of You and Me. I felt for her when her boyfriend cheated on her and essentially humiliated her thanks to social media.  She wants to get away from it all this summer and not see her ex-boyfriend everywhere.  Even though she isn't that close with her dad, she decides to spend the summer at his Jersey Shore bed and breakfast. At first she is hesitant, but after some time passes, she realizes this is the perfect thing for her.  Also, I loved Cass' relationship with her mother and grandmother as well.  Anytime there's a grandmother in young adult literature that plays a role in a teenager's life, I love it.  

Bryan Lakewood is such a great character. He's complex, has struggled, but, like everyone else, is just trying to find his way. I loved his story and his strength in The Season of You and Me. I want more characters like this in young adult literature. As Bryan spends more time with Cass, he realizes that he has strong feelings for her and it isn't just something that is fleeting.  I really adored their summer romance.

I have been going to the Jersey Shore for years, so I especially loved the setting of The Season of You and Me.  Constantine did a great job depicting the locals versus the summer visitors or "Bennys." She also brought to life the beauty of the shore, the fun locations surrounding the shore, the charm of a sleepy beach town, and even those "diamonds." I couldn't help but think that Constantine was inspired by Cape May, one of my favorite places in the world.  It sure felt like I was there when I was reading this novel.

This is the first book I read by Constantine and I really enjoyed it. Her writing felt authentic and she captured summer romance perfectly.  She also depicted life at the Jersey Shore very well and brought to life that one special summer beautifully. The Season of You and Me is one of my favorite books of the year and I plan on reading more of Constantine in the future. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (106)

The Amateurs by Sara Shepard - Thanks to Disney Hyperion
The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay by Kelly Harms Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's

A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray - Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley
The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger - Thanks to Simon and Schuster

One True Loves by Taylor Reid Jenkins

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

So what do you guys think? Have you read any of these books or are they on your TBR list? Let me know! This meme is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Five (31) and a Giveaway

Happy Friday! Sometimes I like to talk about what I am currently into that is not necessarily book related. Here's what I have been up to/thinking about/enjoying lately. Let me know what you think!

1.  Doctor Thorne - Ok, so I have heard that Julian Fellowes,who I am a huge fan of, has scripted this new show on Amazon.  I am definitely going to check it out this summer. Has anyone watched it? Your thoughts? I have heard great things!

2.  Have You Been Wowed? - I have read a lot of great beach reads this summer, but only a few have really WOWED me.   I am not sure why that is. Is it because a lot of contemporary fiction doesn't pack a punch? In fact, there are only a few books that have earned five star ratings from me this year.  What's the last book that wowed you?

3.  Outlander - I feel like I write about this TV show for every Friday Five, but have you guys heard the great news? Outlander has been picked up for season three AND four. If you've read Voyager and Drums of Autumn, then you know how vastly different the settings are. It should be interesting how it will translate to the big screen.  I also heard it will air on Sunday nights now. Not sure how I feel about that. Also, I am loving Murtagh this season. In the book, I liked him, but he is just so awesome on the show. It's interesting how that works out.

4.   Carolina Peach Sangria - I love a good sangria or a mojito in the summertime and I love trying out new recipes every year.  This is going to be the next recipe I try.  My Good Old Summertime board on Pinterest has a ton of summertime recipes. 


5.  Friday Giveaway - One reader will choose a book from the following list:

  • Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly
  • An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao (ARC)
  • The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz (ARC)
  • Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
  • The Matchmaker's Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken 
    The deadline is July 5th and it's open to US readers only.  Please refer to my giveaway rules.  Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Happy Friday,

    Thursday, June 23, 2016

    Book Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

    Pages: 328
    Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
    Pub. Date: May 31, 2016
    Publisher: Harper Teen
    Source: Publisher for review
    My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Goodreads says, "Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.  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."

    Aubree Sadler is set for an incredible summer at home with her friends...that is until all of her plans go up in smoke.  While throwing a house party to honor the fact that they graduated, her perfect sister, Elizabeth, comes home early.  Aubrey is the opposite of Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the perfect student, the perfect daughter, and has an epic summer planned working as a tour guide for senior citizens on their trip through Europe.  Aubree's party gets busted by the cops and one particular cop on a power trip has it out for Elizabeth. Before Aubree knows it, Elizabeth is being handcuffed and her plans have derailed for the summer as she is now being held responsible for the underage party.  There's only one way that Aubree can make it up to her. Elizabeth convinces Aubree to pose as her so she doesn't lose her job and the recommendation that she needs for her "real" job in politics. So, this means Aubree is spending her summer in Europe as Elizabeth.  After all, a summer abroad would be good for her, right? Once Aubree gets to Europe things start to unravel a bit. She loses her binder, which is basically her cheat sheet for all of the tour stops, and her cell phone! Cue all the anxiety.  But things start to work out as Aubree builds confidence and to top it off, she even meets a guy who catches her eye. Maybe this summer won't be so bad after all? Jen Malone's Wanderlost is perfect for readers who love armchair traveling. Aubree whirlwind tour through Europe had me longing for a trip just like it.

    I instantly liked the character of Aubree and really felt for her. There's no doubt that she is treated like the "baby" of her family and could actually use a summer to find herself before college.  She basically takes a huge plunge by traveling to Europe solo and on top of that, she is responsible for other people! So, obviously, Aubree has big shoes to fill in Wanderlost.  I wanted her to step out of the shadow of her older sister and I am glad that she really grows in this story.

    The various settings are what I really appreciated about Wanderlost. I mean who doesn't want to go on an epic tour through Europe? You can tell Malone really knows her stuff since every tour stop felt so authentic.  Whether it was Cinque Terre, Rome, Vienna, or Salzburg, it felt like you were on the trip right alongside Aubree.

    The romance in Wanderlost was really cute and perfect for a light summertime read. I really enjoyed the character of Sam and his witty banter definitely put a smile on my face.

    The only thing about Wanderlost that made me roll my eyes a bit was the fact that some things didn't seem too believable.  For example, she had to trick her parents that she was in Maine and not in Europe. It might be hard to pull that off, especially for an extended period of time.  Then there's the fact that she's posing as her college graduate sister who has her act together and speaks Spanish, which Aubree doesn't.  Plus, Aubree has never even traveled outside of the US before this trip! So, there were a few moments that I didn't necessarily believe wholeheartedly, but that didn't deter me from enjoying the novel.

    So, if you are looking to get away on a memorable trip through Europe this summer, but are stuck at home, Wanderlost is the next best thing.  It's definitely one of my favorite YA beach reads of the summer and if you're like me, always planning your next getaway, you'll appreciate this novel even more.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    Waiting on Wednesday: The Graces

    This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

    The Graces by Laure Eve
    Pub. Date: September 6, 2016

    Goodreads says, "In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.  Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.  This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The CraftThe Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches."

    I haven't read a good "witchy" story in awhile. This one sounds promising. What do you guys think? 

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