Rather Be Reading » A Young Adult Book Blog by Two Busy Girls Who Always Find Time For a Book

Masthead header

Estelle: The Battle of Darcy Lane by Tara Altebrando

The Battle of Darcy Lane by Tara AltebrandoThe Battle of Darcy Lane by Tara Altebrando ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: March 22, 2014
Publisher: Perseus Books
Pages: 208
Target audience: Middle grade
Keywords: summer, friendships, camp, cicadas
Format read: ARC paperback from Publisher. (Thank you!)

Summary: It’s summertime and Julia is planning on spending the warm weather with her best friend, Taylor. That’s until the new girl moves in. Alyssa is competitive and gets to watch the shows that Julia isn’t allowed to, and soon Taylor is ditching all their plans to spend more time with Alyssa. Despite Alyssa’s unfriendliness toward her, Julia still tries to get in her good graces but instead finds herself preparing for a “Russia” (it’s a ball game) showdown in front of the entire neighborhood.

When I was in first grade, a new girl moved in (I still remember her full name) and stole my best friend. I remember how sad I was when I found out my BFF was hanging out with the new girl (instead of me) and even more so when the new girl was just NOT nice to me.

This is something you never ever forget. It’s traumatic for a kid (and adult, for that matter) when the friend you love the most in the world is suddenly gone and you have no control over making it better. Or even understand why it’s happening in the first place when all you’ve been is nice. Don’t those best friend necklaces mean anything?

I digress.

Julia’s original dreams for her summer are shattered when Alyssa moves on her block. She acts like a jerk, and for some reason, Julia’s BFF, Taylor, thinks that’s an attractive quality in a friend because she starts secretly and not so secretly hanging out with Alyssa instead of Julia. As you can imagine, it sucks. For Julia, obviously but also for the reader because she keeps trying to make a threesome out of the twosome, to get her friend back, and to try to get Alyssa to like her.

Why why why do some people just not like you? This is such a horrible lesson to learn because sometimes there’s no answer to that question.

So a summer that was supposed to be filled with days at the pool, the occasional trip to the city, and awaiting the arrival of the cicadas is spent with her (ultra cool) parents, convincing them to let her switch rooms and redecorate with more “grown up” decor, and attending music camp with her friend (and crush) Peter. She’s also perfecting her skills at the ball game (“Russia”) that Alyssa introduced to the neighborhood as the two are set to compete in a major showdown to become “Russia” champion of Darcy Lane. (Julia’s commitment to “Russia” was super commendable.)

Throughout the book, I loved Julia’s observations on her parent’s relationship, the meaning of life, and also her great passion for music. (It reflected so much of what I felt during those early days of band in middle school — the triumph of people coming together!) These were the parts of the story that really made me smile and fall in love with her character.

The Battle of Darcy Lane is so charming, bringing me back to those awesome, fun-filled days of summer from my childhood but also reminded me of some of the more difficult parts of being a kid. (I wish I could have told Julia her situation with Alyssa and Taylor would make her stronger but she had to learn that on her own.) Altebrando transitions from YA to middle grade so well, bringing along so many of the reasons why I love her work: the humor and the heartbreaks of life, honesty, and a full picture of Julia’s family and this neighborhood.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N

Bonus: This book trailer was made by 11- and 12- year old filmmakers! How cool is that? It definitely portrays The Battle of Darcy Lane perfectly:

May 3, 2014 - 2:37 pm

Alexa S. - You recommended this book to me, and sent me the trailer. I bought the book, and read it nearly right after – and I loved it! I thought it was a very real take on that whole experience of someone new swooping in to “take” your BFF, and I could identify with Julia pretty darn well. Plus, I also liked learning about Russia (and wanted to play it!)

May 1, 2014 - 4:03 pm

Lucy @ The Reading Date - This was not on my radar at all, so thank you for fixing that! I bet a lot of kids will relate to this book. Looking forward to reading it!

April 29, 2014 - 3:29 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - Oh my goodness this looks so cute! I so need to read this. I’ve definitely been in similar situations, as a kid and as an adult, and it is always traumatizing.

I wish I could watch the book trailer right now. but I’m at work.

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Estelle: A Passionate Love Affair With… by Lucy Robinson

A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy RobinsonA Passionate Love Affair with a Perfect Stranger by Lucy Robinson
( web | tweet )
Publication Date: May 2013
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Pages: 434
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: dating websites, career, Edinburgh
Format read: ARC provided by author. (Thank you!)

Summary: A break from a bustling career for a workaholic is never a good thing. Charley is determined to make the most of her time, and decides to start her own business — ghostwriting for those on dating websites who need a little help making the initial connection. So what happens when she begins falling for one of the guys she’s writing to for a client? Things only get more complicated when she goes back to her “real” job, the guy she’s been in love with forever admits he’s getting a divorce, and a sneaky coworker is determined to take her job. And that’s only at her day job! Can she juggle it all?

Having the busiest week last week, it was a treat to pick up A Passionate Love Affair… during my down time. Charley is so zany, so intensely intense — she wormed her way into my heart and is one of the more memorable characters I’ve met in a long time. (I was reminded so much of reading Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin back in the day with this title.)

First of all, starting a company where ghostwriters are hired to help those who are having trouble on dating sites? Total genius. It seems like everything goes right for a person like Charley — she has the career, she makes good money, she has great friends, an awesome family — but the love part just hasn’t clicked for her yet. It’s not surprising either… she’s been crushing on a guy in her office for years (too many years) and his flirtation keeps her hanging on (even though he’s having an affair with a married woman).

Right off the bat I loved the premise, but it wasn’t until Charley starts writing notes for clients (specifically for a very very busy career woman named Shelley) that she starts a bit of self-actualization. Has she been ignoring friends and family because work is her life? Has she pretended to be someone else in relationships and that’s why they never worked out? So as she talks to William as “Shelley” and he starts hitting all the right buttons about letting her hair down, enjoying life, Charley gets a little smitten. Like, a lot smitten. To the point where you will NOT believe the lengths she would go to. (But I was along for the ride and loving it.)

I can’t tell you anymore.

I know.

I’m horrible.

But there’s  a surprise, and then another surprise and whoa, Robinson took this story to a whole different place than I would have ever thought. It was fantastic, though, because I had no idea how things would end, how all of this might blow up in Charley’s face, and what it would mean for her career, and her love life. It’s good stuff; I promise.

Clocking in at almost 500 pages (I’ll admit I was a little nervous about this), we get a full picture of Charley’s family including her banjo-playing dad and her two sisters. There are also her friends — Sam, her childlike but adorable roommate who is recently engaged, and her best friend, Hailey, who is the best kind of gal pal because she tells the harsh truth even it’s the last thing that Charley wants to hear. Of course, the work drama played a big part in A Passionate Love Affair too… the crappy coworker (in the inappropriate short skirts) who wants to usurp Charley’s job and most importantly, figuring out proper work/life balance. Was it even possible for her?

In her 30s, Charley was still someone trying to figure out who she was and I really liked seeing that, especially because so many experiences and such different people had an influence on her conclusions. We never know who is going to have that kind of effect on us, and it just goes to show that learning to love and trust yourself is an on-going life lesson. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun and charming book, and I loved the emphasis on dating in the digital age. (While I was reading this, quite a few convos popped up about dating websites and I couldn’t help but smile and think of Charley.) It’s such a relevant experience these days, and no matter how hilarious Charley’s experiences are throughout the book, it will no doubt give you something to think about how you approach relationships and balance work and play in your life.

P.S. I can assure you this review was not ghostwritten.;)

rather be reading worth it icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon <– it’s 2.99, what are you waiting for?!

December 15, 2014 - 3:30 pm

Daphne - I don’t think I’ve even heard of this book (unless I passed over it on Netgalley?) but I just bought it. I did before I even finished reading the summary. I cannot wait to get a free moment to read it.

May 23, 2014 - 9:01 am

Passionate Online Love Advice from Lucy Robinson - […] more book reading so I wanted to refresh your memory. Last month, I told you (almost) all about A PASSIONATE LOVE AFFAIR WITH A TOTAL STRANGER by Lucy Robinson — a hilarious and sweet book about a main character who starts a business […]

May 3, 2014 - 2:06 am

Alexa S. - When you first told me about this one, I was already interested. But your review has convinced me to click BUY on Amazon, because this sounds delightful! I can’t wait to indulge in reading this one warm day when I feel like indulging in something fun ;)

April 27, 2014 - 5:19 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - EEK! I just saw that I can read this for free on Kindle with the Prime Lending Library. So, all is forgiven, you’re not an enabler and YAY BOOKS!

April 27, 2014 - 5:18 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - I kinda hate/love when I come spend time on your blog and then immediately want to go straight to Amazon. You’re enabling my bad buying habits! Anyway, you totally had me interested with the Kinsella and Giffin comparison. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!

April 27, 2014 - 6:03 am

My Week in Books | Just a Couple More PagesJust a Couple More Pages - […] A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger (Thanks to Estelle’s review) […]

April 26, 2014 - 2:39 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I saw the length of this before I read your review and I was worried, but I’m glad you addressed that. I think this premise sounds hilarious and just like the kind of chick lit I like. I used to joke that I should give classes in how to write Craigslist ads looking for roommates because so many of the ones I read/received were terrible!

April 25, 2014 - 10:48 pm

elena - yes, when you told me about this, i was totally reminded of sophia kinsella! i used to adoooore her. this sounds so fun and delightful. super excited to read it!

April 25, 2014 - 9:01 pm

Racquel - oh man, this sounds RIGHT UP MY ALLY!!! *added* *purchased* and now to resist reading it this instant because I have a gazillion papers to write and finals to study for. Sad face. But this won’t be in my TBR for long. Im totally gonna start it as soon as Im free. Thanks for putting this on my radar! So happy you liked it and now Im super excited.

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Estelle: The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae PolisnerThe Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Pages: 316
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: family, summer, secrets, new friends, romance, best friendship
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: Four years after the death of her little brother at the beach, Frankie is still coping with the aftermath of his family tragedy. Her father is distant (and possibly off with their neighbor), her mom is dedicated to helping others and avoiding their home, and Frankie is left to her own devices. But the summer brings Frankie Sky into her life — a four year old boy that shares so many similarities with her brothers and makes her smile in way that she hasn’t in a long time. As a mother’s helper, Frankie spends a lot of time with Frankie Sky, who has a mother reeling from the lost of her husband. At the same time, Frankie is conquering past demons a little bit at the time, coming to terms with changes in her friendship with her best friend, Lizette, and trying not to fall harder for her Lizette’s boyfriend.

I told myself I needed to take a break from books about grief and then I started The Summer of Letting Go and could not let it go. Immediately I felt for Francesca, aka Frankie, aka Beans, who is still distraught over the death of her baby brother four years ago. She believes it’s her fault that he drowned in the ocean, and her mom’s incredible coldness toward her solidifies that her belief is the truth. With her dad secretly cavorting with their neighbor, Frankie’s family is falling apart and she doesn’t know how to fix it. She loves her dad and wants to believe her accusations are false so she follows their neighbor to the country club where an unexpected little fellow pops into her life — Frankie Sky — an adorable 4-year old who is so strikingly like her little brother that it takes Frankie some time to recover.

It seems that our Frankie has also struck a chord with Frankie Sky because he wants her to be his baby-sitter for the summer; this works out in the best interest of many people. Our Frankie needs to be kept occupied while her best friend, Lizette, is constantly spending time with her boyfriend and Frankie Sky’s mom has been stunted by her own grief and is not always entirely capable of taking care of her son.

There’s a lot of heavy sadness in The Summer of Letting Go, for sure, but bright lights like Frankie’s personality, enthusiasm for life, and his fitting dialogue paired with this anchor created by Frankie and Lizette’s friendship let so much hope into the story that I could not put it down. Even as Frankie went over and over again in her head the possibility of Frankie Sky being a reincarnation of her brother, as unbelievable as that was, I felt myself working through it alongside her as she was finally allowing herself come to terms with this tragic event that broke her family four years before. At 16 years old, she was making an active decision to be happy and move forward and live her life. This could not be easy for anyone to do, especially after watching her parents struggle in different ways as well.

The Summer of Letting Go is about those little miracles in our lives — sometimes a period of time, or in this case a person — who open our eyes to the past and also (maybe without them knowing) nudge us toward the future. Frankie Sky was that person for Frankie and I loved watching as their friendship grew over the summer. How protective she was of him, but at the same time how Frankie Sky helped Frankie to let go a bit and have faith in people, in nature, and in life.

I have to mention the incredible best friendship between Frankie and Lizette as well. It’s not easy when you want your best friend’s boyfriend, and it’s especially difficult when you feel like your best friend is everything you aren’t. It’s an interesting summer for the two of them because they don’t spend a lot of time together throughout the story, but for Frankie, Lizette is on her mind a lot. So many changes are already blossoming between them and I admired the loyalty and devotion these two had for one another. Even when things got tough and situations got messy and Frankie’s grief drove her to a lonely place, Lizette was there. Their differences never drove them from one another, but they also didn’t push and knew the importance of space.

There hasn’t been a book that broke my heart and put it back together quite like this one has. The Summer of Letting Go is so much about confronting truths from the past (even when they are uncomfortable) and finding the strength to heal. It’s about those small moments and people who come into our lives and turn everything upside down, teaching us more about ourselves then we ever could have thought. It’s about remembering those warm summer days at the beach with your best friend, the speed of your heart racing when the boy of your dreams looks your way, and making your home a safe and welcoming place once again.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on Barnes & Noble

May 12, 2014 - 7:26 pm

alice-jane - The Summer of Letting Go sounds like such a wonderful read for the summer and my kind of book– contemporary and honest. I can’t wait to find a copy at the library and savor it! I love how you mentioned the friendship between Frankie and Lizette, since it’s rare to have such a strong friendship.

May 3, 2014 - 2:01 am

Alexa S. - Ah! I know you recommended this one to me already, but your review has convinced me I MUST read it. It sounds like just the type of contemporary I like – real, gritty and painfully honest. I can’t wait to snag a copy – from the library, when it’s available!

April 30, 2014 - 10:12 pm

brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Ohhhh another buy it recommendation!?! Ahh, may have to add this to my list. It’s SO hard picking up serious and heavier contemps lately (you know, ones with heavy issues) just because I’ve been reading so many heavy fantasy books that when I’m coming around to contemporaries, it’s for something nice and light and fun. But a buy it rec!? Hmmm, I must add this to my shelves. *heads to GR* expect an email soon notifying you I’ve added it.

April 27, 2014 - 5:10 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Okay, so I’m laughing because I came down here to comment and say almost exactly what Maggie said. 1) I wasn’t that interested in this one until your review, so that’s a success. 2) I also feel like two Frankies would annoy the crap out of me, but I trust there’s a reason for it. Maaaaaybe? I hope so. Haha!

April 26, 2014 - 2:36 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - You know I didn’t have much interest in reading this after seeing her at the NYCTAF, but your love of it is kind of changing my mind. I feel like two characters named Frankie might drive me crazy, but it sounds like it might be worth reading regardless :)

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Shelve It: In Which We Buy All the Books

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Howdy, friends! We’re both checking in to confess how many books share the books we’ve purchased lately with another Shelve It. It’s been a good, good month for reading and we both, um, went a little overboard. Our wallets are feeling quite depleted, but we’re really excited about all of these and we hope you are, too!

Magan:

First up is this glorious book I received from Macmillan, Unremembered by Jessica Brody. (Thank you so much, you guys!) It’s been optioned for film by Reliance Entertainment and Kintop Pictures. I have been wanting to read Unremembered FOREVER and I’m super excited about this! (PS — Congratulations, Jessica!)

Unremembered optioned for film - macmillan publishing

And my (super incriminating) purchases: a screenshot from my amazon orders page. Ooops?!

Books Purchased by Magan

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Pointe by Brandy Colbert (per Estelle’s amazing blurb on Goodreads)
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos (again because Estelle gave this 5 stars!)
The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
Panic by Lauren Oliver

*Not pictured because I pre-ordered it (but it was also delivered last week): To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (because, duh. It’s Jenny.)

ARC e-galley approvals:

Edelweiss Approved ARC books

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt
Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley
On the Fence by Kasie West

Estelle:

Well, it was a marathon of a book event week last week. THREE IN FIVE DAYS. Insane. Normally I just pick one but they were just too good to pass up — Jennifer E. Smith, Sara Benincasa, and Jenny Han — so I skipped the gym, bought a lot of books, and even had a beer in Books of Wonder in NYC. (Thanks to Jenny Han’s great launch setup. The goodies were amazing.) Here are some pictures from the week:

Jennifer E Smith Jackson McNally April 2014

Sara Benincasa Books of Wonder April 2014

Jenny Han Books of Wonder April 2014

A few highlights:

  • Jen E. Smith reminiscing about first moving to New York during the 2003 blackout. She was ATM and suddenly nothing was working.
  • Sara Benincasa is hilarious, and I loved hearing her read from GREAT. It’s always so interesting to hear the inflections in the author’s voice compared to your own. Her next book is going to be a re-telling of Lord of the Flies starring the ladies. Looking forward to that one!
  • And Jenny Han made me a little weepy talking about how close she is with her sister and how she finds her sister always worms her way into her books. She also mentioned how she realized how much things were changing when her sister got married and they wouldn’t be spending Christmas mornings together like they used to. This is a feeling I struggle with a lot and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one.

I was a little tricky and fit all my books into one picture. Hopefully it looks less severe?

Shelve It April 22 2014

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (from Disney Press; thanks!)
After Hello by Lisa Magnum (sent to me by Kelly for a super secret project!)
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (my pre-order came six days late!)
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick (thanks to Emily @ohmagichour for my #AndiSpringExchange gift!)
Shug by Jenny Han (this is a middle grade book)
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland (I needed the paperback! There’s chevron inside!)
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Great by Sara J. Benincasa

I’m definitely cut off, right? As you can tell, I’m going to be busy for awhile. I think M + I both are. So what about you? Anything fantastic make its way on to your shelves lately? Let us know! We are curious and nosey and we probably need to add more books to our TBR — because that’s what we do!

Happy Wednesday — we’re halfway there, folks!

Psst! Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for an ONLY EVERYTHING signed arc (U.S. + Canada) and check out reviews of Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwen Heasley; The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jess Verdi; Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu.

June 1, 2014 - 4:44 am

Judith - M, I can’t wait to see what you think of Pointe. I’ve heard AMAZING things about it. I also thoroughly enjoyed Rites of Passage and On the Fence, so I hope you’ll like them.

E, whoa, amazing books! Of course, Open Road Summer is my FAVORITE. I also love the Great cake, and I can’t wait to read that.

May 3, 2014 - 1:56 am

Alexa S. - Whee, happy reading ladies! I think I got roughly the same amount of books you each did individually, so we’re good. I’d say we bought just the right amount for such an awesome week of releases!

April 30, 2014 - 10:09 pm

brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Hahaha M’s super incriminating purchase page! but good purchases!!! It’s okay, E, it happens to the best of us. Amazing events! So much fun. It’s hard when they’re all back-to-back but it’s also just like a whirlwind of amazing! And YAY Open Road Summer finally arrived! Yessss!

April 27, 2014 - 5:13 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Not going to lie – seeing all these beautiful books in one post has made me feel a little better about the fact that I went book buying crazy this month. SO MANY PRE-ORDERS, y’all. And then, you know, lots of unplanned purchases that I couldn’t resist… and I can’t even blame it on attending any signings.

Also, I just grabbed Pointe from the library this week per E’s rec. Hope I get to it before it’s due back!

April 24, 2014 - 12:38 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - Look at all those beautiful books! I’m jealous, Estelle, that you got to attend Jenny Han’s pub party. From the pics I saw, it looked like such a good time! Also, that comment about her sister & christmas morning.. COMPLETELY agree with that. Magan, I want updates when you read Corey’s book!

PS, Teen Book Con is this weekend, so I’m sure I’ll have a post similar to this one sometime next week with all my book purchases! Can’t wait!

April 23, 2014 - 12:20 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I don’t think you guys picked up too many books at all. Of course, I might not be the best person to ask that question :)

That’s awesome that there were so many book events last week, Estelle. Magan, I haven’t read Unremembered, but it’s definitely on my list. I got to see Jessica Brody at the Rochester Teen Book Fest last year, and she was a fun speaker.

Enjoy all your goodies and happy reading! :)

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Tête-à-tête with ONLY EVERYTHING’s Cupid a.k.a. True

Greetings, friends! It’s a special, special day at Rather Be Reading Blog. Contemporary YA author Kieran Scott has granted me special access to the leading lady of her new trilogy, ONLY EVERYTHING. That’s right. Today I am talking to True a.k.a. Cupid. I know, I know… you are wondering why cupid isn’t a chubby little baby with a bow and arrow. THAT’S A MYTH FOLKS. The true True was banished to Earth after Zeus discovers she has been actively engaged in a relationship with a mortal. In order to get back to her love and back to Olympus, True has to make a love connection between three couples — not realizing just how difficult life in New Jersey for a goddess could be.

True from Only Everything by Kieran Scott

Yes, that’s Anna Scott from Pitch Perfect. She’s how I picture True. :)

A few quick thoughts on the book: My Greek mythology is a little rusty but it came back to me so easily in Only Everything. Plus the entire book was more laugh out loud funny than I ever expected; Scott folded in some details I never would have thought of and it made the story so lush and well-done. True is basically an alien in New Jersey and she tries to act as normal as possible but it’s so hard for her — which makes it even more difficult for her to make love connections. Without powers. Without any idea of how Earth works. In addition to True, the chapters alternate between the POVs of Katrina and Charlie, two other students at the high school. Genuinely nice people who are struggling in some way (Charlie is the new kid at school…again; Katrina’s dad died and her relationship with her mom has become difficult). Friendship, silly / ridiculous times, falling in love, fitting in = ONLY EVERYTHING. So addicting, so fun (seriously, I could not put it down).

Basically:

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

And now for that interview with TRUE from Only Everything. Away, we go….

True, it is totally an honor to be talking to you today! I should tell you up front that I ignored my husband for a lot of the time I was reading your story. (That’s true love, right?) After all of your “adventure” on Earth, what are three tips you would give the next God or Goddess banished to Earth?

It’s an honor to be interviewed! Now go take your husband out for pie!:)My three tips for any God or Goddess banished to Earth would be:

1) Look in the mirror before you leave the house and make the proper adjustments. (We’re used to looking perfect all the time, no matter what. Mortals have to put in a lot of work.)

2) Expect your new body to turn on you in sudden and unpleasant ways. (Before I became mortal I had never vomited, sneezed, hiccupped, burped, gained weight, passed gas or sprouted a zit. None are very much fun. Except sneezing. That can leave a pleasant tingling sensation.)

3) Know that nothing will be easy. (On Mount Olympus we can have whatever we want, whenever we want. Having to buy things or work for things or ask for things is an adjustment. But I’ve found that working for things, at least, can be very rewarding. That’s my favorite mortal lesson so far.)

Orion. Your one and only. What is it about your relationship that makes you so confident in forever?

Orion and I have so much in common, but we’re also different enough that we’re constantly surprising each other and challenging each other. I cannot express how much fun it is to go out on a hunt with him, crashing through the woods with our bows drawn—the excitement, the adrenaline, the sweat, the thrill, the danger. It’s intense. We love to eat well, we love to spin yarns and we could spend days just lying around talking about the past and our future. But Orion is also rash, where I’ve always been cautious and calculating. He makes decisions by his heart, while I tend to overthink things. We balance each other out on that. He can be selfish at times and cocky, which I find both infuriating and mind-bendingly attractive, but I try to reel him in when he lets his head swell. He thinks I can be too involved with my calling—too work obsessed—and is always looking for ways to distract me and help me stop and see the beauty in the world. I feel as if we’ll never get bored with each other. I can’t imagine my existence without him.

Your relationship with your mother, Aphrodite, is a bit contentious. Do you feel like this experience has made you closer in any way or are you just too different?

On Earth, I think that we’ve learned not to take each other for granted. She has always been my biggest advocate and defender, and I believe I stopped appreciating that when I got involved with Orion. I definitely appreciate it now. I think she has seen me as her errand girl for the last few centuries and hasn’t really recognized the value of the work I’ve done. Now I think she sees how difficult it is, forming true love, and how dedicated I am to our cause.

What’s one thing you learned from your interactions with people in New Jersey that you will apply to your relationships back home?

Great question! I’ve seen how important family is to Katrina and Charlie and it’s made me think about my relationship with my father and brothers. I’m close to my sister and even to my mom, though that can be, as you mentioned, complicated. But I hardly ever see my brothers, Phobus and Deimus, because they’ve sequestered themselves in their palace, and going over there can be very unpleasant. They’re so paranoid and jumpy all the time. But that’s no reason to avoid my own flesh and blood. And my father . . .  well, I have to accept the fact that he’s Ares. He’s never going to stop waging wars. But there has to be some aspect of him that’s redeemable, something I can love. I should be grateful for the fact that it would be virtually impossible for me to lose him the way Katrina lost her father. Maybe I’ll try to get to know him better. I feel like it would be disrespectful to Katrina and to the memory of the dad she loved so much, if I didn’t.

I really enjoyed getting to know Charlie and Katrina in book 1. Will readers be reuniting with them in the next book? (I hope so!)

Aside from Hephaestus, they’re pretty much my only friends at Lake Carmody High, so yes, they’ll be around. As long as I don’t do anything to mess things up!

Which celebrity romance do you find yourself shaking your head at right now?

I wish this whole Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez thing would fizzle already. Too many breakups are not a good thing. Also Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Love them both, but they almost never look happy when they’re together. Have you noticed that if they’re smiling, which is rare, the smile doesn’t extend to their eyes? That’s a major giveaway that something’s not quite right. Maybe if I could get in there and talk with them I could fix whatever’s going awry.

As someone responsible for so many love connections, what do you think is the most important part of keeping a relationship everlasting?

Honesty and trust are very important. You have to pick your battles, of course, and let the little things go. If you love someone, you shouldn’t nitpick every little thing that bothers you about them or your relationship, but if there’s a big issue, you must discuss it. Preferably in a calm and rational tone of voice at a point in the day when you’re not both stressed and/or exhausted. (So not during finals or after the senior lock-in.) It’s also important to keep things fresh, do the things you like to do together, and be there for each other, no matter what.

After all your… ahem, difficulty… getting settled on Earth, what’s one power from Mount Olympus that you wish you would have been allowed to bring with you?

When I first arrived, I would have said the power to read minds, because it would have made the matchmaking so much easier. But now I realize I never would have gotten to know Charlie and Katrina as well as I have if that power had been available to me. So I suppose I wouldn’t mind having the power to conjure things. Sometimes a girl just really needs a lipstick, or a headband, or, you know, a replacement cell phone for an awful jerk boy. Things happen.

ONLY EVERYTHING by Kieran Scott hits stores May 6, 2014. It’s the first book in the TRUE LOVE trilogy.
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
COMPLETELY NOTHING (Book 2) will be out September 20, 2014.

You’re in luck! Your chance to win a signed arc of ONLY EVERYTHING thanks to Kieran Scott! (Open to readers in U.S. and Canada; must be 13 years old or older to enter. Once the winner is notified, winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner is chosen.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 5, 2014 - 9:01 am

Shelve It: Obsessed With the Library, Estelle - […] Summers by Una LaMarche Only Everything by Kieran […]

September 29, 2014 - 9:01 am

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott (YA Review) - […] Add Complete Nothing to Goodreads | Buy on B&N | Buy on Amazon | My Interview with True […]

May 3, 2014 - 1:53 am

Alexa S. - Based on the description of True’s character, I could totally see Anna Scott playing her role in a movie! After reading this adorable + fun interview, I’m definitely excited to read Only Everything. It sounds like it’s going to be so fun!

April 30, 2014 - 10:06 pm

brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Super cute! I also think Anna Scott is so adorable so I love the comparison!
I’m so hesitant about Greek mythology just because I haven’t done well with mythology adaptations lately so they’re not high on my list as of now, but this sounds really fun and totally different! Definitely keeping it on my radar :)

April 24, 2014 - 11:26 am

Karen H. - I want go read this book because Kieran Scott wrote it! I love all her books and I think this series will be amazing, just like her other ones.

April 23, 2014 - 10:15 am

Daphne - this is great! it sounds like a fantastic book & I want it now! :) i love a light-hearted mythology book.

April 22, 2014 - 8:03 pm

Danielle @ Love at First Page - I have been loving the fluffy contemporary YA books coming out this year, and glad to hear this is in the same vein!

But, mm, NOT happy about dissing Andrew and Emma! They are so cute together! Especially in interviews. <3

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Estelle: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

DonDon’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 304
Target audience: Young adult
Key audience: parental relationships, the internet, friendship
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)

Summary: Imogene has been the subject of her mother’s popular blog, Mommylicious, since forever. As she starts 9th grade, she’s losing her patience with the staged outings, the products her mom wants her to review, and the people who recognize her when she’s out. So when her new English teacher assigns the entire class to starting up their own blogs, Imogene and her best friend, Sage, are determined to get back at their mothers with THE MOMMY BLOGGERS’ DAUGHTERS plan.

Reading Don’t Call Me Baby was an ironic experience. On one hand, I could totally understand where Imogene was coming from. She wanted her privacy; she didn’t want her mom to tell the world about every little thing going on with her. But on the other, as a blogger myself, I know there are so many positives experiences to come out of writing in your corner of the internet.

But Imogene’s mom definitely took blogging to a whole new level. I didn’t entirely blame her because she made a living by running her blog and had built quite a following. But she was distracted by her Mommylicious brand. She wasn’t sensitive to her daughter’s needs or even the needs of her mother (Grandma Hope) or her husband. She had a one track mind.

I’ll admit it, though. I can totally lose myself in my computer screen, and on my phone. To the point where I don’t even hear what the person next to me is saying. It’s not good. And it’s not something I’m proud of. But I have tried to put a cork in it, and be more conscious of how much time I’m spending around technology. That was one of the main themes of the Don’t Call Me Baby and in our internet-driven world, I appreciated it. Balance is so important when it comes to screen time vs. real life time. Imogene’s acting out had so much to do that, and her mother needed to take the time to realize this and do something about it.

Since Imogene was in ninth grade (and not yet officially in high school), the novel read a little young at points but I loved the friendship between Imogene and Sage (her mom also had a blog) and how their conspiring to take down their moms brings up a few conflicts between the two of them. They had a supportive, honest relationship and could lean on each other, but like any other friendship, they didn’t always agree with one another. And then there was Grandma Hope — a bright light and energetic gal who loved golf and didn’t understand the internet. She’s also gave Imogene the support she needed to be more honest with her mother.

From the authentic family dynamics to the commentary on the internet age, I had a great time reading Don’t Call Me Baby. While I had a few concerns about the logistics of the ending, the entire reading experience had me thinking about overexposure of children on the internet, the pros and cons of blogging (how dangerously easy it is to make your life look perfect), creating boundaries to ensure your life is about more than social media, and, most importantly, the delicate and tumultuous relationships between mothers and daughters.

rather be reading worth it icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N

May 3, 2014 - 1:47 am

Alexa S. - I really enjoyed this! I think it was Heasley’s way of putting blogging and the internet into perspective that I really enjoyed the most. It definitely made me think about blogging and what it means to me and how it affects my own life.

April 30, 2014 - 10:04 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - This was another one that I ended up pushing up because of you! I didn’t realize how interesting this story sounded and it sounds like another great book I can connect to. So glad you mentioned it & reviewed it! I hope I have similar positive feelings :D

April 26, 2014 - 10:57 pm

Nicole @ The Quiet Concert - Oo I didn’t know this book was about blogging. I think the question of over-exposure, or too much technology will be an interesting one! And I like that the girls plan to take their mom’s down. Sounds fun! I just added this to my TBR :)

April 23, 2014 - 8:02 am

Shelve It: In Which We Buy All the Books - […] to enter our giveaway for an ONLY EVERYTHING signed arc (U.S. + Canada) and check out reviews of Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwen Heasley; The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jess Verdi; Life By Committee by Corey Ann […]

April 22, 2014 - 12:58 pm

Rachel - I really like your review of this book. I felt the same sense of irony reading the book as a blogger. Like yeah, I suppose it can get in the way of real life at times, especially if you’re neglecting the people you care about for your blog, but there are so many amazing things about blogging as well. But I definitely have to make a concentrated effort to stay present when I’m with friends (especially those that are non-bloggers), so I can understand where Imogene is coming from as well.

April 22, 2014 - 7:09 am

Amy @ bookgoonie - I know my kid reacts to every photo I take with “are you going to post that?”. Plus I get an eye roll everytime I ask the kiddo to give me a book sound bite. Though our kids don’t mind putting themselves out there, they don’t want us doing it for them.

April 21, 2014 - 4:18 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - You know I loved this story, I’m so glad you read it first and encouraged me to read it while reminding me that the character is much younger than the teens I normally read about. I agree that Imogene and Sage’s friendship was great and very true-to-life, I love how they argued, but then figured out a way to remain friends and grow their relationship.

April 21, 2014 - 12:05 pm

elena - i’m pretty curious about this because of the rise of mommy bloggers and the privacy concerns that are more prevalent these days. oh gosh, if i were imogene i would cringe so hard and feel like i have NO PRIVACY at all. people’s relationships w her via the internet must be so weird, esp because they see her grow up. yikes. kind of like how you feel you know a celeb but you really, really don’t.

April 21, 2014 - 11:56 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - This seems really interesting. I am often sucked into the black hole of the Internet, too. I’ll definitely have to check out this book. Although I love blogging, I feel like I could really understand what Imogene would be frustrated with her life being on the Internet. It’s one thing if she was the one putting her life out there, but it was her mother. Although I haven’t read it yet, so I’m sure there is a lot more to it.

April 21, 2014 - 10:53 am

Molly @ wrapped up in books - I’ve been really interested in the crop of books that have come out recently about teens and internet culture. I can totally relate to you on the whole screen time/real life time balance. It can be difficult to strike! I’m also interested in friendship and family in YA.

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email