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Estelle: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara FarizanTell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: 10/7/2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 304
Target audience: YA
Keywords: LGBT, theatre, culture, identity, friendship, family
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley.

Summary: New friends, old friends, secret feelings, sister “rivalry” and fitting in are all on the mind of high school junior Leila.

Sara Farizan’s latest is just another reminder of all the books I say I want to read, and never get to because after all this time, I still have not read her debut. (Don’t worry; I have it out from the library right now.) So Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel was my first taste of her work and I totally get what all the fuss is about.

Main character Leila is a junior at her high school, a girl with a Persian heritage who is constantly labeled as a Latina. Already feeling on the outskirts of her peers, Leila can’t imagine coming out too. Not at her school and most definitely, not at home. She fears her parents and her perfect older sister will abandon her just like a family in their social circle did to their gay son. Will she ever be able to be her true self?

This is the thing. All of this weighs so much on how Leila sees herself, and how she presents herself to the world, making it pretty massive life changing stuff. But there is such humor in her character; I loved hearing her thoughts, how she wasn’t exactly a fashion plate, and how she struggled with being a good student and wanted to make her parents proud of her nonetheless. There were no airs about her; as readers we were granted the opportunity to know the real Leila and watch as she wiggled through these challenges.

Enter Saskia — the exotic new girl who flirts with anyone who has a pulse, including Leila. Unlike the rest of her school, Saskia doesn’t assume anything about Leila and really appreciates her culture. Their chemistry is apparent in the beginning but it was also a little worrisome. Did you ever meet someone and just fall for them completely, friendship or relationship? It was like a Saskia disease that Leila could not fight, paralleled with the return of an old childhood friend, Lisa, who is going through her own periods of grief and emerging as a brand new person from who Leila used to know. I was so thrilled to see Lisa and Leila rekindle their friendship because they didn’t try to put pressure on each other when it came to anything. Instead they supported each other in this quiet, lovely way.

Farizan skillfully balances the distance Leila is feeling from her family as her secret becomes harder and harder to conceal with the changes happening in her social life. She also injects some great moments from the school theatre program (which Leila reluctantly joins) and a teacher who confides in Leila more than she should. Most importantly, I really liked how Leila, who was so aware of people and their beliefs in certain stereotypes, was something she adopted without even noticing it. To me, this drove home the point that we are always works in progress, and are going to be encountering people all the time with no way to know their real story. It’s so important to listen, and to remain open-minded and compassionate.

Tell Me How a Crush Should Feel is a refreshingly authentic story of friendship, heartbreak, family, and acceptance — of yourself and others. If I haven’t sold you yet, there’s a Muppet reference. You are welcome. (Psst. Thanks, Sara.)

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October 11, 2014 - 10:23 am

April Books & Wine - So, I have not commented on any blogs in WEEKS but I had to break the radio silence due to clicking Bloglovin’ and seeing that you reviewed Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel and clicking on your review because it’s of a book that is different from all the other books being reviewed. AND OMG can I just say that it makes me so happy that you loved this book and that you get why it’s so great and ugh, I am just so thrilled right now. Yay for Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel getting some spotlight on Rather Be Reading! I will say, I really enjoyed If You Could Be Mine, however, there were some parts were I was like what even is this. Like, it wasn’t as good as this book. Still worth reading though, because it adds something new and unique to YA, you know? Anyways, awesome review!

October 9, 2014 - 2:25 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I haven’t read anything by Sara Farizan, but clearly I need to fix that ASAP. There are so many books I want to read, it’s crazy.

I’m glad you really liked it. Leila seems like such an awesome person, and I can’t wait to meet her for myself. :)

October 9, 2014 - 1:53 pm

Alexa S. - I’ve yet to read a Sara Fariza novel! But I love that they sound different from many others I’ve encountered. Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel sounds great, and I definitely will be checking it out ;)

October 9, 2014 - 10:30 am

ashley - This review has me even more excited for this book. I just started it and I’m glad the feel I’m getting on the book is fairly accurate so far.

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Book Report: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Well, hello! Welcome back for another Book Report! In the past, we’ve done lots of gushing as we’ve oohed and ahhed over books like ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, but today’s discussion involves a few differing opinions on our overall opinion of KISS KILL VANISH by Jessica Martinez. Did we love it? Did we agree? How would we rate it? Read our joint review below to see what we thought! Please remember that we try to be as spoiler free as possible, but tread lightly.

Book Cover for Kiss KIll Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez (website | twitter)
See Also Virtuosity and The Vow by Jessica Martinez
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 432
Target Audience: Young Adult Fiction
Keywords: runaway teenager, family secrets, young adult thriller
Format Read: We both received copies for review from the publisher. (Thank you!)

Summary (from Goodreads): Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Just in case you need a visual reminder of who we are:

– – – –

Magan Magan
Estelle Estelle

♥ ♥ ♥

 

Magan So today we’re talking about KISS KILL VANISH by Jessica Martinez. We’ve both read books of hers in the past we’ve really enjoyed (Virtuosity and The Vow), but I think it’s safe to say that we have slightly differing opinions on this one. In two sentences, tell me what you thought!
Estelle Kicking off with a toughie, huh? I think Kiss Kill Vanish was sexy, addicting, and heartbreaking. I also thought Martinez did such amazing things with story structure and dialogue; I was in awe. (I kind of cheated.)
Magan You sneak! Ok, so let’s maybe start off with the story structure because I felt SO intrigued in the beginning, that Valentina ran away from her family (not saying why!). I really admired her decision. But I lost a lot of faith in her as the book went on and I liked her less and less.
Estelle You should expand on that because I didn’t feel that way. (And I’ll explain why in the best way I can!)
Magan I thought it took a lot of strength to leave the comfortable life that she had. She was a girl who had absolutely everything, and she basically cast it all aside because she couldn’t support the truths that were revealed to her. I checked out a bit when she returned to settle things because her decisions felt very immature and she seemed to get in the way much more than she helped the situation. Her young age and naivety really became apparent to me. I think if maybe there was a bit more backstory in the beginning of the book, it would have made more sense to me why she needed to return and have closure. But her decision seemed more vengeful, especially the more she learned once she was there.
Estelle For me, the book started off very slowly and I had the opposite reaction. I thought her leaving seemed so unbelievable for a teenager. This book definitely was one where I had to suspend my disbelief or I wouldn’t have been able to get invested. I think she was a scared little girl who had nowhere to turn, and knew nothing about her history. As the story goes on, even the little she does know, gets turned on its head. I can’t pretend to know what I would do in that position.
Magan I do agree that the actual book starts off slowly.
Estelle Her character really played with my head because sometimes I pictured her so much older than she was, and other times, so much younger.
Magan I think that’s really interesting. I feel like it takes a lot of strength to walk away from something. I really enjoyed seeing her try to scrape by, especially when it was doing a job she hated. I really, really wanted to see her make solid friendships and stand on her own two feet. I think that’s really what might have been the biggest letdown for me. Where I expected the story to go isn’t what happened. Let me rephrase that — in a situation like hers, it takes strength and courage. I think it can be seen as cowardly if a person continually ditches everything they do and doesn’t ever commit to see something through, but in Valentina’s specific situation, I feel she demonstrated maturity.
Her sisters, for example, were atrocious.
Estelle I just had a thought. Maybe I’m reading into it too much but Miami vs. Canada, rich vs. poor, even the two brothers she comes across… the whole book feels like a contest between these halves. Good vs. evil. Truth vs. lie.
Magan Oh, for sure. There are SO many contrasts throughout the story.
Estelle When Valentina was in Canada, she tried to be plain Jane. But she really had no FINAL plan like what was she going to do… pose for portraits forever? Sure, her endgame was getting to Spain but in reality? It felt like she was at a total standstill. Like you, I did want her to make solid relationships but I felt like the possibility of that was so small because she would continue to be on the run.
Magan Yes! I think that’s where a bit of implausibility came into play. Ultimately, I feel like this is a Catch-22. Her returning home was the ONLY thing that really allowed her to break free. But it also was my least favorite part of the book because she made some poor decisions. (I think you feel otherwise here.)
Estelle Does a character making poor decisions affect the likability of the book for you? I’m curious about this.
Magan No, I actually just didn’t think a lot of things made sense here. I hated the main character in TEASE, but ultimately really enjoyed that book.
Estelle Do we put too much of ourselves in the characters we are reading? (I’m not even sure I would have run away.) Can we explain what didn’t make sense without telling secrets?
Magan I think a lot of things felt contrived for me. I don’t feel like I can say specifically because I don’t want to ruin the book, but things blew up and escalated so much and there were a few surprises that I didn’t anticipate, but one in particular about a character I didn’t really find believable.
Estelle I hope that paragraph piques the interest of every one of our readers because I read it and I’m like TELL ME I WANT TO KNOW WHAT WHAT. I’ve read a few other thrillers this year, and those experiences really shaped how I felt about this one. While I enjoyed them and I’m not sad I read them, I think Martinez really succeeded in places they didn’t.
Magan That makes a lot of sense to me. You have recent reads to compare it to. There were great surprises too. I really loved that there were times I just did NOT know what to think about a character. IS HE GOOD? Do I trust him?
Estelle YES EXACTLY. She kept surprising me, she made me fall in love with Miami when I should have hated it, and she made me suspicious of every single character we came in contact with. I don’t think many authors can make you laugh in the middle of some crazy tale like this one either. That’s why I keep bringing up the dialogue. It felt so pitch perfect and natural. That’s hard to do.
Magan I think the suspicion of the characters was a definite positive for me. Especially when it came to the brothers, I was curious, but also felt a little skeezy when I read about her posing for Lucien’s paintings (and they were so innocent).
Estelle Oh agree. It was so so creepy.
Magan I think this will for sure be a read that people will discuss. A lot of it will come down to how black and white you are when it comes to right and wrong. Do you agree?
Estelle Ah! I don’t know how to answer that. I do? I mean, it almost a little controversial. More than anything I appreciate a book that challenges me to think about why a character is doing something and sometimes why a character doesn’t think things through before they move forth with a decision.
Magan I feel like by asking you that question I had this little self-realization. I think I do tend to categorize things into neat little bubbles. I don’t like grey areas. And for me, the family situation was absolutely wrong. There is no question that I had very strong feelings about it. I think that might be why I didn’t understand her interferences. How could she do what she did when she too felt things were so wrong? That’s when things got messy for me. Am I making sense at all?
Estelle I’m reading those questions out loud to myself. Maybe she just went a little nuts? That’s all I got. I think it makes sense. I didn’t get it either. But maybe that goes back to what we were saying before about her being two different things. She acts adult but also childlike and she was sort of throwing a tantrum and taking control.
Magan I think that’s a really great way of putting it. Honestly. So many contradictions.
Estelle It’s uncomfortable for any reader, which is why (and I say this sadly) I know it won’t be for everyone. This is how I feel about Terra McVoy’s IN DEEP as well. (Two recs in one!)
Magan Woot woot! (Still need to read that one.) That’s the thing — even with my reservations about her decisions, I’m not disappointed I read it.
Estelle You’ve read a few other books by Jessica. Don’t you agree it’s so hard to compare them because they are totally different animals?
Magan Yes! I think I’ve just read this one and Virtuosity (haven’t read The Vow yet). In my experience, the common thread is that she likes to clash family members against one another. That’s where the drama stems from in both of those.
Estelle Also the contrasts in decision making and behavior, too. I was just rereading my review of The Vow and I said “is it immaturity or idealism” that makes these characters decide certain things.
Magan Mmmm. Very nice, E.
Estelle There are truly SO many ways to view a story, and I can’t say enough about being given that opportunity. So many times we are spoon-fed beliefs and reasons behind actions in books. Even though you and I didn’t feel the same about the book, I’m so exhilarated by our conversation and even more blown away. This is what reading and discussing these books are all about.
Magan I agree! I’ve really been looking forward to talking about this one, knowing we felt so differently. In the past, we’ve had very similar feelings on many of the books we’ve reviewed together. I love that I can see and understand how you felt, even if I didn’t relate in the same way.
Estelle Exactly! Any final thoughts on Kiss Kill Vanish? Buy, Borrow, Worth It or Skip for you?
Magan Oh, geez. I think it falls between Borrow and Worth It for me. It would make a great book club book — so many different responses to it, I’m sure!
Estelle One thing I wanted to point out was the diversity of the characters in the book. Martinez always seems to get swept under the rug when it comes to this even when she does it well! So yet again, loved the subtly there. As for my rating, definitely a buy it. First of all, the cover is beautiful and second, I have to read this one again because it seems like a book where you discovering something new each time you read it. (Sidenote: there’s a part with feet that grossed me out and almost made me cry. Had to mention it.)
Magan Oh, geez. Yep, that part wasn’t fun at all. I do think depending on what you’re going through at the time you read this, you might have differing opinions.
Estelle Totally. And if you think this might not be your cup of tea, I highly recommend The Vow (which just came out in paperback!).

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Have you read Kiss Kill Vanish? What did you think? 

If you’re on the fence about KISS KILL VANISH, Barnes & Noble is having a sale! Click the link below to save a few dollars!
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November 3, 2014 - 4:34 pm

Rather Be Reading Turns Three! (Plus Giveaway!) - […] year we want to share copies with TWO PEOPLE of the books we’ve reviewed together, KISS KILL VANISH and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER! We’re also including a few of our favorite non-bookish […]

October 23, 2014 - 1:41 pm

Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers - I’ve had my eye on this one since I saw the cover because it really stands out to me. And I think it’s kind of fun to read a book with lots of different opinions! It was fun reading your POVs! :)

October 9, 2014 - 12:05 am

Alexa S. - Kiss Kill Vanish was a pretty fun surprise for me! I didn’t expect to be swept up in this book, but I totally was. Martinez delivers a pretty solid mystery/thriller type tale, and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff!

October 8, 2014 - 12:53 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - A thing with feet that grossed you out and almost made you cry? That sounds terrible! LOL And I’m not sure I want to find out what it is! But aside from that, you guys have me totally on the fence about this one. I have yet to read one of her books. Something about the author having my name really weirds me out and is part of the reason why I haven’t read any of her books yet. Totally dumb, but there you have it. lol

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Estelle: Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

Bleed Like Me by Christa DesirBleed Like Me by Christa Desir ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: absent parents, intense romance, secrets
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss.

Summary: With her parents otherwise occupied with her adoptive brothers, Gannon is used to living pretty much on her own. Despite the support of her coworkers and a friend who really cares, Gannon detaches a lot until she meets Brooks. For the first time in a long time, someone is paying attention to her and wants to be with her. It’s not like her coworkers and friend. He’s fixated on her. Together, they jump straight into an intense, addictive relationship filled with secrets and deceit, as well as the overwhelming need to start fresh.

Christa Desir isn’t the kind of author to beat around the bush. I learned that when I read her haunting and real Fault Line. Almost a year since I first tried out her writing, Fault Line continues to be a book I think about a lot. Needless to say, I was anxious to see what she would have in store for me with Bleed Like Me.

If you are looking for intense and gritty novels out of young adult, I urge you to find Christa’s books. You will absolutely devour them, even as heartbreaking and painful as they are. Bleed Like Me tells us the story of Amelia (called Gannon) who is living with her parents and three adopted brothers. Until her brothers came along, she had been the pride and joy of her household but her brothers have never assimilated well to their home and the attention of her parents has shifted to them exclusively. Gannon gets lost in all the yelling between her parents about how to raise these kids, and all the scheming and disrespectful actions of her brothers. This situation in Gannon’s backstory is a difficult one to fathom; it doesn’t seem like there was a way out. Her mom continues to coddle the boys, the dad detaches himself from their home life, and Gannon is left to observe all of this from a distance.

It’s no surprise that Brooks’s attention intrigues her, except it kind of is because she has a girlfriend who seems to really care for her, and two coworkers who watch her back as well. But I believe years of her parents forgetting her and the breakup of the family she always knew really affected who she attaches herself to. Brooks is direct in an almost creepy way, but she cannot stop thinking about him or stay away from him. She needs him too quickly. He takes possession of her so swiftly, and it makes her feel something, like her cutting; two practices she can’t seem to give up. Desir does not shy away from the graphic cutting scenes either. I was, unfortunately, having lunch when I read the first one and I felt so sick.

In a book like this, readers are prone to realizing the danger the main character is in before she does. You want to warn her. You want to tell someone she knows. But you also know it doesn’t matter what you or someone else says. Gannon is one determined person when it comes to Brooks and time apart makes her dependence on him grow even more solid. Anything she sees in her future spells “Brooks”. Here’s the thing about him, though: as possessive he is, I didn’t think of him as the bad guy. He had his own baggage to deal with. Part of me blamed Gannon’s parents for not paying attention and part of me wanted Gannon to realize her life could not go in this direction and be okay. Obviously, a hurricane of emotions for this reader.

Basically, I sat back and let Desir take me on a ride I knew would come to a screeching halt in some way. This author has the power to suck you into the scariest of situations and keep you interested all the way through. Most importantly, without there having to be a lesson with a big red bow at the end. My biggest takeaway from this book was that sometimes the adults in our lives do not do well by us. When things get bad and they are forced to wake up, they still don’t. It’s up to us to decide what we do next and hopefully part of that conclusion, however shaky the ride is, includes acceptance.

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October 8, 2014 - 11:59 pm

Alexa S. - Bleed Like Me sounds so creepily intense, and I’m insanely curious to see how this turns out. My heart already goes out to Gannon, and I want to read her story!

October 7, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - This sounds VERY intense! Fault Line was such a topic of discussion last year and I’ve yet to read it, but it definitely put this author on my radar. I’m not a huge fan of the possessive boyfriend thing, but if you say it’s not bad then I’ll keep an open mind when reading this. Great review, Estelle!

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Shelve It: Obsessed With the Library

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

HAPPY SUNDAY!

Did you guys have the best weekend? I sure hope so. I’m writing this early so I’m trying to predict the future. I am going to have fun catching up with Maggie on Saturday afternoon. I will read two of my library books and one of my actual review copies. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress because you are dying of curiosity, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?

Ahem.

As you will see in my video, I’ve spent a lot of time going to the library lately. That and the fact that my new job is VERY far away from the B&NI would frequent every month, my wallet is looking good in that department. I’ve also been getting a lot of exercise (as you will see in my video) and well, just watch the video, will ya??

Library!

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley (Magan’s review)
Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt
Wildlife by Fiona Wood
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farzian
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer (Pop! Goes the Reader’s review)

In the mail!

Rain Reign by Ann Martin (this is actually out 10/7/2014…oops!)
Boys Don’t Knit (In Public) by T.S. Easton (out 3/24/2015 from Feiwel and Friends)
Last Train to Babylon by Charlee Fam

Bought! 

Five Summers by Una LaMarche
Only Everything by Kieran Scott


 

On the blog:

Buy It: Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian
Why in 5: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
Top Ten Fifteen Tuesday: Tough Subjects in Books
Buy It: Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott
September’s Big Kids’ Table with Leah from The Pretty Great Gatsby

So spill the beans! Whatcha reading? What’s new?

Hope all you have a super week! Thanks for stopping in!

November 23, 2014 - 12:01 am

Shelve It: The Attack of the Pear, Estelle - […] books, and I’m so glad my hair looked decent enough to make this Shelve It video — it has been awhile! I have lots of fun books to share, and also a story about the latest library book I took out. […]

October 9, 2014 - 9:00 am

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan - […] and never get to because after all this time, I still have not read her debut. (Don’t worry; I have it out from the library right now.) So Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel was my first taste of her work and I totally get what […]

October 8, 2014 - 11:39 pm

Alexa S. - YOU LOOK SO CUTE! I really love the haircut, and I really like your dress too! Also, I really loved Rites of Passage! I hope you enjoy it as much as Magan, Rachel and I all did (and I’ll be curious to hear what you think when you’re done). Also, I just read and loved Rain Reign! Rose Howard is a great heroine :) AND, finally, I’m still sad about missing that event (though obviously hanging out with husband at DISNEY was the best excuse ever!) because it sounded so darn fab. Glad you had a good time!

October 7, 2014 - 12:32 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - First, your hair DOES look totally cute! And alone would be my main requirement if I ever decided to do videos. I also LOVED How To Tell Toledo From The Night Sky so I hope you like it! And I really want to read a Kieran Scott book soon because you love her. :)

October 6, 2014 - 11:30 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - Your hair and your outfit do look cute! And yay for library love. But those covers do make it difficult to show them in a video. The lights glare off them.

I really thought Bright Before Sunrise was adorable. I really liked it. I hope you do too, and all your other books.

Happy reading, Estelle.

October 6, 2014 - 12:40 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - so worth the wait — you’re adorable, as always! I’m waiting for my library to get Rites of Passage, because I keep hearing good things :). I just started the Throne of Glass series this week, and am LOVINGLY it so far!

October 5, 2014 - 11:10 pm

Liz - I love your my hair looks cute and I’m wearing a dress logic for vlogging–I feel the same way! I also have How To Tell Toledo From The Night Sky out from the library–I’m reading it now and it’s a little bizarre but good! Bright Before Sunrise didn’t really work for me but a lot of other people have loved it, so I hope you feel the same way. Happy reading!

October 5, 2014 - 6:52 pm

Jessica - Oh my gosh, I’m so jealous you got Wildlife! It’s still on order from my local library at school, but I already have it reserved for when it does finally come in. I went home over the weekend and it was actually in at my library there, but it would have been due way before I went home again in November, so I couldn’t take it. Ugh, I just want to read it! Haha, I hope you enjoy it!! I’ve heard Rites of Passage is fantastic and actually won a copy that should be on its way to me, so I can’t wait to read that one too! I hope you enjoy all you got :)

-Jessica (Peace Love Books)

October 5, 2014 - 3:30 pm

Brianna - I’m reading The Curse of Van Gogh by Paul Hoppe for my fun book. Everything else is for school, and while not boring for me, would be dullsville for everyone else.

October 5, 2014 - 10:59 am

Missie - All of your new ones are new to me! Excited for your reviews!
Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

October 5, 2014 - 9:24 am

Leah - VERY cute hair! SUUUUPER cute dress! hee, I’m glad you mentioned it – I was actually going to comment on it and ask if it was a shirt or a dress. ♥ I’m crazy about florals right now.

I really enjoyed Bright Before Sunrise! It was my first One Day novel (is that the right term?? idk). I wasn’t too sure how I’d enjoy a story told in 24 hours – especially when there’s a romance involved – but it was good!

Fingers crossed for Wildlife, it’s one that had been on my To Read list for a while & YES for all the LGBT novels coming out! Really looking forward to your thoughts on it.

HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY YAY.

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Estelle: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins (Blog Tour)

In Your Dreams by Kristan HigginsIn Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins ( web | tweet )
Part of the Blue Heron series.
Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Pages: 480
Target audience: Adults/romance fans
Keywords: old loves, new loves, small towns, California, cops, wine
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: When Emmaline gets an invitation to her ex-fiancee’s wedding, she lands a “date” with the most eligible bachelor in Manningsport — Jack Holland. They play hockey together, see one each other at the town bar, but it’s never gone further than friendship. Jack is dealing with the aftermath of his efforts to save some teenage boys in a horrible accident, and needs a break from being treated like a hero when all he can think about is the one kid left in a coma. Can these two overcome their pasts and look toward the future together?

Kristan Higgins continues to weave her magic spell on me, folks. I’m totally hooked.

In Your Dreams brings us Emmaline and Jack — two people who live in the same town and are just passing friends. Over the course of the book, we learn that both characters are thrown into situations where they are forced to see the rawest part of the other. For Emmaline, she’s the cop on duty when Jack saves teenagers from an accident, when their car plunges into water. Later, Jack agrees to accompany Emmaline to the wedding of her ex-fiance and sees for himself the tension caused by her family and her insecurities sparked by her ex-fiance.

This is another area where Higgins excels. It’s not all about the chemistry or pushing her couples together but she really creates a backstory for each of her characters. Jack’s heroic gesture connects to his past, and is also affecting his present. He’s having nightmares, some shady things are going on, and he can’t confide in anyone. Not even his clingy ex-wife who is back in town and hoping to make amends. Jack is just SO nice. Too nice. Even Hadley’s reappearance doesn’t bother him (on the outside). He’s so polite, and helpful that it’s pretty much a curse because she is not one to get a hint.

For Emmaline, her parents are constantly on her case about her job as a cop and how they know she’s gay, and why doesn’t she come out already? They’re therapists and very judgmental and so frustrating. I was continually flabbergasted by how heartlessly they treated Emmaline, and how quick they were to disregard how she really felt. No wonder she had so many walls built up. Her parents paired with her ex-fiance (now that was a story)? It’s amazing she didn’t move to Fiji and change her name. (Okay, that’s dramatic but still. I felt bad for her.)

Somehow Higgins makes Jack and Emmaline’s pairing as unexpected and natural as possible. Emmaline knows that Jack is going through some rough stuff, and he has seen firsthand what kind of crap she is trying to dig herself out of. But it’s the resistance from Emmaline that makes this relationship so freaking sexy. Jack practically has to beg for her to go out on a date with him, and it’s pretty adorable and delectable. I loved how sarcastic and funny Emmaline was amongst the town, but also in her own head. That’s the thing about Higgins’ books. You have to be prepared to be swooning one minute to giggling the next. I can’t think of another romance author who succeeds at both so well. Jack and Emmaline made me fall in love with her work all over again.

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⇒ ⇒ GIVEAWAY! ⇐⇐

Hi! Little Bird Publicity has one copy of In Your Dreams for me to provide as a giveaway! Please leave a comment below to be entered. I will pick a winner on October 10, 2014 11:59pm EST. You must be 13 years old to enter and live in the United States. Good luck!!

October 10, 2014 - 10:07 pm

Mary m - I’ve never read any books by Kristin Higgins but this on sounds great.

October 8, 2014 - 11:26 pm

Alexa S. - I have yet to read a Higgins book. Yes, yes, I know, I should definitely remedy that! In Your Dreams sounds so dang adorable + sweet + complicated. It’s just the kind of contemporary romance that I could see myself enjoying!

October 7, 2014 - 6:35 pm

Janice Hougland - Gosh, I liked this reviewer’s way of telling about Higgins’ storytelling and this story in particular! She does it so well and it dovetails with how I feel about Higgins’ stories. I had a domineering mother growing up, who loved to criticize rather than build up, and I was chubby and kind of a nerd so I was rather quiet and by myself a lot during the school years. I could really empathize with Emmaline…and Jack too. I think I’m gonna love this book as much as I have all the rest of Kristan’s books! Thanks for the post.

October 7, 2014 - 4:23 pm

Sherrie J - Who doesn”t like to get lost in a good romance novel, and let all the cares of the world drift away, if inly for a few hours, dreamy!

October 4, 2014 - 8:41 am

Leah - I was grinning throughout this entire review, E! I’ve been slacking with this series (oh my gosh, we’re already up to book FOUR?!), but I’m thrilled Kristan hasn’t lost any steam! I’m a teensy bit worried about that cover though – the snowy scene automatically makes me think this is a Christmas Novel (idk why, but I’ve never been a fan of those!). From your review it doesn’t seem like that’s the case though.

October 3, 2014 - 5:23 pm

Anna G - I have never read a book by Kristan Higgins before, but I’ve been curious. This sounds like a good story!

October 3, 2014 - 1:52 pm

Jessica - My Mom loves Kristan Higgins books! And I love the cover of this book, it’s darling! :)

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