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Sweet Summertime Reads: The Nautical and The Sexy

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!

Nothing says summer like SHOPPING. Especially when you are us.

So today we decided to pair both reading and shopping for a fun little feature. This year, better than most, we have kind of done a nice job of making sure we read the books the other can’t stop raving about. (Yes, we are patting ourselves on the back a little bit.) It’s nice for a change! To celebrate that milestone, we are each talking about books we want to read this summer based on the praise of the other!

estelle on “winger” by andrew smith:

I searched high and low for this book… I couldn’t find it at my nearby Barnes & Noble but luckily, found it in Books of Wonder one weekend. Love the cover, love the plot (male POV, romance, rugby!), and especially love that it helped Magan get out of her own reading slump. She called it “well-written and addictive“. That’s just the kind of book I need in my hands right now.

As for the shopping aspect of things, I absolutely adore the colors on this front cover. Blue and red are patriotic, sure, BUT they are also super nautical so I’m drooling over these two options. Wouldn’t the blue look great with a pair of yellow wedges? And the red with a nice pair of beige flats? I love skirts in the summer.

Winger by Andrew Smith with Matching Skirts for the Ladies, Part of the Sweet Summertime Reads series

Dish It Haute (Red) | Sailor Swift Skirt (Blue)

magan on “dangerous girls” by abigail haas:

Please excuse me for making Rather Be Reading a bit risque today. Oops? (Totally kidding.) Since Estelle wrote her Dangerous Girls review, in which she discussed how it’s a fantastic thriller that she wanted to speed-read through, I have NEEDED IT in my hands. (Can July 16th hurry up and be here already?) The cover is a mix of mystery + light-hearted beachy-goodness. I told Estelle I got the impression that the characters would be a bit more scantily clad than what I would probably be. (It’s normal to wear a fully body swimsuit, right? Again, kidding.) She concurred that I was on the right track.

So, I went on a Victoria’s Secret shopping splurge. (Model’s bodies not included.) The swimsuit is girly and flirty, but also sexy. The cover-up has kind of a double meaning. See what I did there? 😉

dangerous girls book inspired beach wear

Lace Ruffle Bandeau Swimsuit | Off-the-Shoulder Dress

Don’t forget to check out Trish Doller’s fun facts about Florida on Ginger’s blog, GReads!
And make sure to hit up Tara’s blog, Fiction Folio, later this week for more Sweet Summertime Reads fun!

June 26, 2013 - 5:23 pm

Alexa Y. - You guys are making it VERY difficult indeed for me to keep my shopping ban! The items in this post – the skirts, bikini + dress – are SUPER cute. And I’m excited to read both these books!

June 26, 2013 - 5:37 am

VeganYANerds - Loving the skirts and the bikini! Estelle – so glad you got Winger!

June 25, 2013 - 7:07 pm

Cee @ The Novel Hermit - Eek! Such fabulous choices. I am in love with the red skirt.

You convinced me to read “Winger.” 😀

June 25, 2013 - 12:47 pm

Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life - Ahh, this is such an adorable feature! I love how you two are focusing on reading books that the other loved- so cute! The outfits you two chose are so adorable as well. I’m loving the read and blue look, Estelle, and Magan, that cover-up’s color is SO cute. Probably my favorite shade of blue (if you couldn’t tell from my blog, haha). 😉 Lovely picks, you two! <3

-Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

June 25, 2013 - 11:17 am

Candice @ The Grown-Up YA - I WANT THOSE SKIRTS!!! They would look so good for my work wardrobe. :)

Also… I’m gonna go with Brittany. No way the bikini would work for me. The cover up though? Yes please! Love that color!

June 25, 2013 - 11:01 am

Tara - Those skirts are adorbs! And boy do I wish I had the body to pull off that bathing suit…

June 25, 2013 - 11:00 am

Rachel - If I didn’t love shopping so much I’d hire you two to shop for me. First off, I love what you chose for Winger, Estelle. I don’t know anything about the book but it does fit well with the cover! And also 90% of my clothing is either red, white, or blue, so I think your choices are perfect. Magan, your choices for Dangerous Girls are perfect as well. I haven’t read it yet either (but I want too!), but I definitely pictured the same kind of clothing. That swimsuit is SO CUTE. I don’t know if I’d ever actually wear a white bikini (I prefer black or pink), but I do like to admire them from afar.

June 25, 2013 - 10:59 am

Jamie - I want to read both of these so bad!! Perfect pairings, too!

June 25, 2013 - 9:47 am

Sharon @ The Book Barbies - These are such cute choices! That nautical skirt is ADORABLE. And I love that swimsuit! Not at all practical – it’d be down around my waste in no time if I actually got in the water, LOL – but very pretty nonetheless.

June 25, 2013 - 9:37 am

Cassie - OMFG. STOP IT JUST STOP. This is so creative and adorable and I effing LOVE IT.

June 25, 2013 - 9:32 am

Ginger @ GReads! - This is so cute! Love this post idea :) I really, really love skirts in the summertime. They are definitely a part of my wardrobe right now. I wish I had a bikini body, haha so it’s full body swimsuits for me! Ha!

June 25, 2013 - 9:27 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Those nautical skirts are CUTE. Love them.
Uhh, darn, no model body included? haha. Yeah, I can’t pull off a bikini like that but I love the cover up! :)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Five and Five Favorites

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Oh hi! It’s Top Ten Tuesday Day thanks to the geniuses at Broke and Bookish! Today we’re teaming up to share with you the top reads we’ve experienced so far this year — no easy task! At all! It’s just so hard to choose when you fall in love with so many things for different reasons but we’re going to try very hard to get you excited about these titles today!



1. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (July 16 release): To call this book a page turner is just about the understatement of the year. A spring break turned murder and conviction totally changes the dynamic of this group of friends. The story is told from Anna’s perspective as she awaits her trail in the brutal death of her best friend. So sinister, so twisty, surprisingly sexy, and well-done. I finished this two weeks ago and still can’t stop thinking about it.

2. Starstruck by Rachel Shukert: One of the most literary, multi-dimensional young adult books I’ve read ever. Rachel takes us back to 1930s Hollywood and focuses on the lives of three very different young ladies. The secrets behind the glamour, the unexpected friendship, the romance, and politics all play a part. This is the first in a three-book series and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. (Esp. with the WTF ending.)

3. Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy: So (strangely?) proud when an author I love takes a risk with her work and blows me away. McVoy says bye bye to high school bands and summer camps and wraps us up in a story of a love so full of devotion, it spells disaster for Nikki. She ends up in jail when the love of her life gets her involved in a murder. Secrets, growth, frustration make up this succinctly written masterpiece. You will not be able to put it down.

4. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland: A beautiful setting with a not so happy story attached to it. Cricket has no idea what is going on with her best friend, Jules, and why she has suddenly turned her back on her. Hoping to somehow fix whatever it is, Cricket follows her to Nantucket, gets a job at a neighboring in, and falls in love with the most surprising person. This book is so honest when it comes to conflicting feelings of friendship and I think that’s why I love it so much.

5. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham: A big kids book to round out the list… Frannie is in her late 20s and still trying to figure out what to do with her life. She has a few months left in her own goal to make it as an actress, and when a mistake lands her an agent… she thinks it might actually be happening. This book talks about the path least taken, the one where you go out for your passions and don’t follow the crowd. I loved that so much and was rooting for Frannie the whole time. (This is also the first book in a series.)

Surprise pick: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia: All my picks above are 2013 releases, and Fingerprints of You came out last year and it’s one of those… “why did I wait so long to read this?” picks. Lemon is pregnant and decides to go with her best friend to California to find out more about the dad she never knew. Madonia has written a fast-paced, gorgeous book with an awesome best friendship, a difficult mother, and amazing discoveries.


best young adult books of 2013 so far

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite 2013 books. I never wanted it to end. I felt so emotionally invested in the story because Rainbow’s writing is so spot-on. She made me feel emotional over the simplest of things (the hand-holding scene had my heart beating so fast!). I am positive Rainbow Rowell is an auto-buy for me from here on out.

2. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: I just finished this one this past weekend and really, really enjoyed it! Sophie Kinsella has been kind of hit or miss for me. The main character in the Shopaholic books really grated on my nerves (would she never learn her lesson?). BUT — I found Poppy to be funny and intelligent and I laughed out loud so much my husband wanted to know what was going on.

3. Winger by Andrew Smith: There’s nothing about Winger that I didn’t absolutely love. I wish I could experience it over and over and over again for the very first time because I want to swim in Andrew Smith’s words. I loved the main character, Ryan Dean, more than I can possibly express in words. (Got any other awesome male POV young adult book recs for me?)

4. manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen: Surprise! Another male POV book! I loved Zero last year by Leveen and really fell more in love with his work after reading manicpixiedreamgirl because he made the complex love scenario so understandable — even if you haven’t been in the exact situation, I think it’s still relateable. Leveen’s writing is just … killer.

5. Golden by Jessi Kirby: My review of Golden was practically one big gush fest, but that’s because Jessi so, so deserves a standing ovation for this one. I’ve enjoyed her stories in the past, but when I finished the last page of Golden, I felt like I was suffering through a break-up I just didn’t want to end. (This is probably why I own three copies of the book…)

Mom pick: I don’t really want to infuse Rather Be Reading with lots of kids stuff, but let me be honest for a second and say I read a bazillion kids books every day to our foster daughter. Some of them are so repetitive and boring (to me, an adult, but great for kids development, of course). My favorite, hands down, has been Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin because it’s comical and intelligent. And! The illustrations are impeccable.

Looking forward to seeing everyone else’s picks! It’s going to be a good week!

July 2, 2013 - 10:28 am

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - I just added the Tom Leveen book that Magan has listed to my library wishlist. WOOHOO! Also, E, I just finished the Lauren Graham book yesterday.

June 26, 2013 - 5:20 pm

Alexa Y. - What great picks! I really do agree with a lot of the ones you guys have chosen, particularly Golden, which I ADORED. I have yet to read a few of these titles, but I’m eagerly looking forward to them – particularly Criminal, Dangerous Girls and Starstruck.

June 26, 2013 - 2:28 pm

Daisy @ The Broke and the Bookish and Between the Pages - YAY for Golden!! So much love for that book! And I’m very excited to see I’ve Got Your Number on Magan’s list, I got a copy last week :)
And Estelle: I’m dying to read Nantucket Blue, I’m glad you liked it so much!!

June 26, 2013 - 10:59 am

molly @ wrapped up in books - I’m going to have to read DANGEROUS GIRLS! The synopsis gave me lukewarm feelings, but with such a strong endorsement I’ll give it a shot! I love seeing CRIMINAL get some love — what a fantastic book! FINGERPRINTS OF YOU is also a book I think is underrated so I’m glad you enjoyed it. I need to read GOLDEN soon. I just might have a Jessi Kirby marathon!

June 26, 2013 - 2:20 am

Lucy @ The Reading Date - You both have fantastic taste in books! Winger, Someday Maybe and Dangerous Girls are a few I can’t wait to read. Loved Golden, E&P and manicpixiedreamgirl. Hope the rest of the year is just as amazing for you!

June 25, 2013 - 4:54 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - Oh hi. Yeah. I haven’t read any of your top books. SADS! But I want to! They’re on my list! I PROMISE!! 😀

June 25, 2013 - 2:54 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - Great lists, ladies! I’ve read or want to read all of these. I was very pleasantly surprised by Criminal and Someday, Someday Maybe. And I think I’ve Got Your Number is one of Sophie Kinsella’s best (I agree she’s very hit or miss).


June 25, 2013 - 2:49 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - Wow, I can’t imagine only being able to choose five books – I had enough trouble narrowing my list down to only ten! Hehe. I was really excited to see so many books on my own TBR list on your TTT lists this week. I own Nantucket Blue, Golden, Fingerprints Of You and Eleanor & Park and have yet to read any of them, but their inclusion on your list made me all the more excited to read them now :) The fact that they’ve appeared on a number of TTT lists this week is comforting.

June 25, 2013 - 2:20 pm

Anna - Some lovely picks, ladies! Winger’s high up on my “GAH I NEED TO READ THIS” list for sure.

June 25, 2013 - 12:23 pm

Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea - I am definitely borrowing I’ve Got Your Number when I next go to the library as it looks awesome. I’m really looking forward to reading Nantucket Blue as it seems like everyone who has read it has loved it!

June 25, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Natalie @Natflix&Books - I loved Winger and Golden. Both made my list, too. I really liked Someday, Someday, Maybe and Nantucket Blue. I’m so excited for Dangerous Girls. Great lists!
Natflix&Books’ TTT

June 25, 2013 - 11:58 am

Rachel - I’m reading three of the books Estelle listed in like the next two weeks so YAY because she/you have the best taste ever IMO. Golden was AMAZING. And obviously Nantucket Blue. I especially liked the sex scene in that one. And that’s going to sound totally awkward to anyone that hasn’t read the book, but it was handled so well which I really appreciate.

June 25, 2013 - 11:51 am

Renae @ Respiring Thoughts - Nantucket Blue and Someday, Someday, Maybe were both phenomenal, as was Golden! I especially enjoyed Lauren Graham’s humor and voice in SSM.

June 25, 2013 - 11:35 am

Sash and Em - We’ve only read one book off this list – Eleanor & Park – Looks like we’ve got some good reading ahead of us :)

June 25, 2013 - 11:03 am

Jamie - Estelle I own all of the books except Criminal on your list so I’m excited! I started Starstruck on the beach but only got like 2 pages in because I was chasing Genevieve. I love that so many of my “must reads” for my beach bag are on your list so I know I’ll be doing some good reading!

Magan — E&P <333 I have you to thank for that one. I also LOVED Golden and really wanted to put it on my list but I split it into 2013 releases and backlisted. SIGH. Dying to read Winger because of how much you are raving about it! And I own Manicpixiedreamgirl but I haven't seen much about it so I'm glad to see it make your faves list!

June 25, 2013 - 11:02 am

Sharon @ The Book Barbies - How is it that I have read NONE of these books yet? I really need to get on that! I’ve been on the library waiting list for Someday, Someday, Maybe for entirely too long, and I’m still waiting! *sigh*

June 25, 2013 - 10:49 am

Olena - Nantucket Blue is on my list. Golden was amazing and life altering! It definitely changed my way of thinking.

My TTT: http://www.bookythoughtsandme.com/top-ten-books-ive-read-so-far-in-2013/

June 25, 2013 - 10:43 am

Daphne - there is so much on here that i want to read, but i have to agree with magan on E&P and I’ve Got Your Number, great, fantastic books. I haven’t read any of Estelle’s books, but I think they’re all on my tbr list already :)

June 25, 2013 - 10:18 am

Stacy Renee @ LazyDayLiterature - I’m waiting on Nantucket Blue to get to me via mail and I plan on reading Eleanor & Park in July. It seems to be on everyone’s list.
Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday

June 25, 2013 - 10:15 am

Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros - I’m so glad Golden is making everyone’s lists! I loved that one! Eleanor & Park is another popular choice this week (I need to read that one!) And I definitely want to pick up Someday Someday Maybe! Great list guys!


June 25, 2013 - 9:43 am

tabithasbookblog - I’m so behind on my 2013 releases! The only book on your guys’ list that I’ve read is Nantucket Blue! Which I enjoyed, but it didn’t make it onto my list! Hopefully I’ll be reading Golden this week!

June 25, 2013 - 9:25 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Yes! Loved E&P and Nanctucket Blue! And ESTELLE. You are killing me!
*goes to Edelweiss… downloads my copy of Dangerous Girls.. puts work aside and starts reading* HAPPY? Haha :)

June 25, 2013 - 9:17 am

Andi - I have heard excellent things about Winger. I’m going to have to make sure I read that.

Great list!

My TTT List

June 25, 2013 - 8:49 am

Bookworm1858 - I really dislike Becky in the Shopaholic series too-my sister loves them but I find her just too annoying. Thankfully I tend to like her standalones like I’ve Got Your Number a lot. Eleanor & Park would definitely be on my list for this year but I will need to spend some time thinking about what else should be there.

June 25, 2013 - 8:33 am

Ginger @ GReads! - I’ve only read 1 book from E’s picks & 2 books from M’s picks. I always trust your judgement, so I guess it’s time I add a few of these to my forever growing TBR list.

June 25, 2013 - 7:41 am

VeganYANerds - E – so glad you loved Fingerprints of You!

M – I want to read all your picks!

June 25, 2013 - 2:31 am

Cee @ The Novel Hermit - I have yet to read any books on your list, but I have Nantucket Blue and Eleanor & Park on my desk rn, waiting to be read!

June 25, 2013 - 1:32 am

elena - meep estelle i haven’t read any of the books on your list besides starstruck but I WILL RECTIFY THAT! i have to check out nantucket blue from my library and you made me so curious about dangerous girls.

auugh magan, I REALLY WANT TO READ WINGER!!! i need to get myself to the library and check it out! also hee to click clack moo. :3

June 25, 2013 - 12:53 am

DannyBookworm - Awesome list girls and some books I have not read yet… I loved Fangirl, but haven’t read Eleanore and Park – must do this soon!!

June 25, 2013 - 12:29 am

Alice in Readerland - I really want to read Golden, and Sophie Kinsella’s books are so cute and fun! :) My TTT list: http://aliceinreaderland.com/2013/06/24/top13/

Alice @ Alice in Readerland

June 25, 2013 - 12:21 am

Sara (of The Page Sage) - I’ve been dying to read Someday, Someday Maybe since you posted your review. Eleanor and Park is currently in my TBR pile. Hoping to get to it soon! :)


June 25, 2013 - 12:13 am

Jasprit - This is a great list ladies, I love it because there are so many books on here that I’m dying to read; Criminal, Nantucket Blue, Someday, Someday Maybe. And also because Golden made it to your list too, I love that book!

June 25, 2013 - 12:10 am

Kelly @ Belle of the Literati - Ok, Golden and Nantucket Blue I NEED to move up on my TBR list! These books have been on EVERYBODY’S list!! Love it!

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Estelle: The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

The Newcomer by Robyn CarrThe Newcomer by Robyn Carr ( web | tweet )
Part of Thunder Point Series.
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 368
Target audience: Adult romance
Keywords: small town, exes, heartbreak, extended families
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks also to Little Bird Publicity!)

Summary: So much happening in Thunder Point: Sarah has a secret about her job that could affect her brother, Landon, who is about to start his senior year in a good school (finally!). Mac’s ex-wife is back in town after 10 years since she abandoned their children. Gina’s daughter, Ashley, is dealing with heartbreak after a surprise breakup with her college boyfriend. Double the romance, secrets, and friendship!

When I reviewed The Wanderer back in March, I figured the multiple storylines served as an introduction to the series and that once Book 2 came out, Carr would follow the typical romance novel format and dedicate each book to one character. Instead The Newcomer followed its predecessor by jumping between the lives of those we met in Book 1. And you know what? I liked this a whole lot. Not only was it a bit more seamless in this book but, as a reader, you are able to grow more attached to the characters and that’s never a bad thing.

So now I can tell you what I loved so much about The Newcomer. There are a good amount of intertwining storylines but the standout for me was Ashley, a teenager dealing with an awful breakup with her college boyfriend. She’s totally blindsided because he was always so devoted and the series of events that followed were heartbreakingly authentic. I wanted to simultaneously punch her ex in the face, and hug her until it stopped hurting. One thing about Carr: she does not shy away from incorporating teens in her books. This is so refreshing, and a great reason for YA fans to try her out.

For all the drama (crazy exes, convict fathers, sexting), there is so much to enjoy about the Thunder Point gang (coolest hottest sex scene EVER, proposals, sweet surprises). By the second chapter, I felt like I was already hanging out with some old friends of mine. Can’t wait for book 3! (I quite literally can’t; I was screaming NOT YET! when I finished.)

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Psst. Feel free to read these books out of order.

September 19, 2014 - 4:43 pm

Book and a Beverage [7] – Estelle from Rather Be Reading | The Book Addict's Guide - […] now? I would recommend Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (even though it come out on July 16), Thunder Point series by Robyn Carr for those interested in a romance series, and Sean Griswold’s Head by […]

August 27, 2013 - 9:01 am

Romance Review: The Hero by Robyn Carr (Thunder Point series) - […] The Hero by Robyn Carr ( web | tweet ) Part of the Thunder Point series. Publication Date: August 27, 2013 Publisher: Harlequin HQN Pages: 384 Target audience: Adult Keywords: cult, romance, friendship, football Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!) Last book I reviewed by Robyn Carr: The Newcomer […]

June 30, 2013 - 8:40 pm

Nailed It: Upcoming July Releases - […] A review of The Newcomer by Robyn Carr […]

June 26, 2013 - 5:18 pm

Alexa Y. - After we had such a… GOOD… discussion about certain things in this book, I really want to read it! I did enjoy The Wanderer, and meeting all the characters, so it’s kind of cool that they’ll all be back in this second installment. I’m definitely going to check it out!

June 25, 2013 - 11:06 am

Jamie - Never heard of this series but I’m checking to see if my library has it! It sounds really good! Seems like a good crossover for those of us who started reading romance because of the YA genre but have no idea what the adult romance genre is all about! (like me!)

June 24, 2013 - 5:22 pm

Tara - I picked up The Wanderer at BEA and can’t WAIT to read it. It’ll be my first Robyn Carr and I’ve got high hopes since so many people seem to enjoy her writing.

June 24, 2013 - 5:15 pm

Pagepassion (Katharina) - Hey, I liked your review a lot and I’ll put the book on my wishlist :) Sounds VERY good, especially the “intertwining storylines” and the “coolest hottest sex scene EVER” 😉 Greetings from Germany! Katharina

June 24, 2013 - 4:43 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I’m shocked that this book is relatively unknown given its rather unusual approach to perspective and storytelling in the contemporary romance genre. I’ve become so used to reading each book in a contemporary romance series from a different character’s perspective that the idea of having multiple characters intersect throughout a single book gave me a little jolt and I was initially skeptical. While I’m not always the best at adjusting to change, I am intrigued by Carr’s approach and it does sound like something I would enjoy. There are few things I like more in a romance novel than small towns and big families, either biological or found.

I’m happy to hear that Carr incorporates children and teens into her stories with a fair amount of success. I find they can often make or break a romance novel for me, and admittedly often dread the appearance of children because I find they’re very rarely well-drawn. Ashley’s story sounds particularly interesting and is one I would like to read more about.

Thanks for the really informative review! I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed The Newcomer and will likely add Carr’s Thunder Point series to my ever-growing TBR list :)

June 24, 2013 - 1:52 pm

Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life - I have actually heard very little about this series, which is strange, because it seems so different! I actually think it’s pretty cool how the timeline jumps around to other people, I don’t think I’ve read any other book that have done that successfully. This author doesn’t seem to shy away from anything, and the phenomenal characterization is so awesome as well! I love when you feel like the characters are real people (because they totally ARE, right?!).

Anyways, gorgeous review, Estelle! I’m definitely going to be checking this series out.

-Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

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Estelle’s Shelve It for 6/23/2013: Books, Pals + Events, Oh My!

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


Why oh why do these summer weekends go so fast? I’ve had a great couple of days celebrating a friend’s birthday, seeing Monsters University (so cute!) and hanging out with a few fancy bloggers at Books of Wonder this afternoon! I was so thrilled to finally meet Leila Howland, author Nantucket Blue, too! She is such a gracious, sweet, adorable gal and I can’t wait to see where her career takes her. It’s been such a pleasure to follow her and her debut! (Ahem, go read it. Go.)

Here are a few pictures from today’s event at Books of Wonder!

Leila Howland Nantucket Blue with Bloggers 6232013 - 2

From left to right: Estelle, Leila, Rachel from Rachel Reads, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, Betty from Book Rock Betty, and Gaby from Ella Bee Reads.

Leila Howland Nantucket Blue and Estelle from Rather Be Reading

Leila Howland Nantucket Blue with Bloggers 6232013 - 1

Um, each and every one of these ladies are AWESOME. Visit their blogs, tweet them, be their friends, and then drink beer (or wine) with them. You will not be sorry.

I also filmed one of these:

Books mentioned:

Burning by Elana K. Arnold (Rachel Reads reviewthanks Elana!

Mason Jar Crafts by Lauren Elise Donaldson thanks Lauren!

>> Cottage Journal is Lauren’s blog!

The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis thank Shanyn!

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (July 2nd release)

Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty (September 3rd release)

What you might have missed this week:

My eee! review of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Magan tells us about Jennifer Echols’ Dirty Little Secret

Sweet Summertime Reads: our beach bags for night and day!

My first review of a re-read: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Help me with this book hangover, I beg you! Dangerous Girls ruined me! (But I am also so so glad that it did.) What have you read lately that absolutely blew you away? Tell me, tell me!

Thanks again for stopping in! Enjoy your week and as always, happy reading!

June 27, 2013 - 10:16 am

Lauren D. - Estelle, thank you so much my dear! That was the sweetest little introduction and it just made my day to hear it. Such amazing communities are created here in the blog world and I am so thankful for them. I have connected with so many amazing people, like yourself, and I am blown away by the kindness and support that I receive from friends like you. I’m so glad you did email me and just happy I could help ease your mind during that stressful time of wedding planning. Thank you again for sharing my book. I hope you enjoy it and get inspired by its pages!

June 25, 2013 - 11:34 am

Jamie - Looks like you guys had a great time! So wish I could have come! Curious about Burning because I just got that in the mail and then saw Rachel’s review of it!

June 24, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - Ok, I’m going to be creepy, are you guys at Sala? I recognize the restaurant and I know it’s somewhere I’ve been many times, but if it’s not Sala I’m totally blanking.

June 24, 2013 - 12:03 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Ahhh that event looks like so much fun! I saw all your tweets and got super jealous that you guys all get to hang out together haha :) But very cool — I love seeing blogger friends together! It just shows you how amazing this community is and how it brings us all together :)
Okay. I need to read Dangerous Girls. I keep trying to read like 5 books at once. Maybe I should just start them all so I don’t forget hahaha. I’m so terrible at picking what to read next… Don’t let me forget about it though! :)

June 23, 2013 - 11:48 pm

Bookworm1858 - Haven’t been blown away by any books lately, alas but I also really enjoyed Monsters University. I wasn’t sure because reviews were mixed but I was absolutely charmed!

June 23, 2013 - 10:42 pm

Alexa Y. - I can’t wait to hear what you think of Burning! I really am curious about that book, particularly since a few people have talked it up to me.

Also – it was REALLY good to see you today. I’ve missed you! It helped me a lot through all the craziness that’s going on – and you know what that is. Love it and love YOU <3

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Estelle: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls by Abigail HaasDangerous Girls by Abigail Haas ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 400
Target audience: Mature young adult
Keywords: spring break, friendships, murder
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)

Summary: Spring break for a group of friends turns deadly when one of their own ends up brutally murdered and another charged in the crime.

I have been anxiously awaiting and anticipating Dangerous Girls since Jamie’s January Catalog Creepin’ post.


Full disclosure about me: I’ve been known to get wrapped up in those big headline crimes and when I first read the synopsis about mayhem in Aruba, Natalee Holloway popped into my head. (Teenager who went missing on a school trip to Aruba in 2005.) What about a character in the book stuck in a different country facing murder charges? Instant reminder of the recently published and freed Amanda Knox. (Charged with the murder of her roommate in Italy in 2009.) But Haas manages to make Dangerous Girls completely her own because while this story sometimes alludes to these particular crimes, it makes more a statement about the 24-hour news cycle and how media paints the victim and the accused. And just like I’d been with certain cases, I was completely alert and engrossed with untangling this vacation-turned-tragedy.

Anna and Elise are uber best friends on vacation with their group (including Anna’s boyfriend, Tate) in gorgeous Aruba. They are prepped for a week of partying, the sun, the surf, and just leaving all their worries  in Boston behind. But in the opening chapter, we know their hopes for their paradise vacation are all but a pipe dream. Elise is missing, and when they are on the phone alerting the authorities, another in the group discovers her brutally murdered in her bedroom.

It’s obvious that the Aruban authorities don’t have much experience dealing with a crime of this caliber, and zero in on Anna and Tate as their prime suspects. But Tate comes from an affluent family and sneakily escapes his convictions while Anna is left to await trial. Rethinking every minute of her life since she first met Elise in school, going over every second of their time in Aruba, and wondering if she will ever be home again.

Haas effectively alternates chapters between the present and the past. The story grows more intense because the further you read the more detail you get, those small little details that could uncover what really happened to Elise. I was probably convinced I had figured out the whole thing about five times, even declaring so outloud. But then I kept reading, doubt crept in, and I realized I didn’t know much at all.

That, folks, is the sign of a fantastic thriller.

I had to exercise EXTREME self-control when it came to my reading because I wanted to just plow through the whole thing, skip over paragraphs that I thought could lead to some answer sooner. I actually had to stop myself many times and I’m glad I did. The moments of reprieve,  the slow burn made it THAT much better.

Listen, I read Dangerous Girls in less than a day. Elise and Anna’s dependent friendship, the cruelty of Elise’s murder, Anna’s relationship with Tate, the loyalty between their circle of friends, this all encompassing sensuality, and the uncertain future for Anna? I had to get to the bottom of it. All I can say is the ending blew me away so much I was yelling four-letter words at the book, and frantically scrolling back to make sure I had read it right.

But I had, and whoa, Haas sure got me.

Dangerous Girls is one wild, twisty ride; the details felt so real that my first reaction was to Google the heck out of this crime when I was done reading because I had to know more. Only, there was no murder to research. Instead, it’s purely a piece of fiction, so addicting and so dark that I can only call it an experience.

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May 4, 2015 - 8:00 am

Black Iris by Leah Raeder | Estelle Reviews, Estelle - […] when I say I haven’t read such an electrifying mystery crackling with so much tension since Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. But since Dangerous Girls was a young adult book, picture all of that […]

September 3, 2014 - 5:20 pm

Book and a Beverage [7] – Estelle from Rather Be Reading | The Book Addict's Guide - […] are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Right now? I would recommend Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (even though it come out on July 16), Thunder Point series by Robyn Carr for those […]

November 18, 2013 - 3:10 am

Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas | Wendy's Book Blog - […] Estelle at Reading Gals  […]

July 18, 2013 - 11:52 am

Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas | books, etc. - […] Estelle says buy it! […]

July 2, 2013 - 10:32 am

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - This sounds absolutely terrifying! I am such a weirdo about thrillers but I know that you loved it and recommend it so highly so I will try and get my hands on it when I can. But it does sounds so absolutely freaky (and like the Natalie Holloway thing!). EEK.

June 27, 2013 - 2:30 pm

Vyki @ On The Shelf - This is the first I have heard of this book and now I am very excited to have it on my TBR list. I am really good at figuring things out in books, so I am stoked about one that seems really twisted to catch me off guard. Great review! Found you over at The Book Addict’s Guide on Book and a Beverage. Great blog, new follower :-)

June 25, 2013 - 11:39 am

Jamie - EEEE I’m so glad this is as good as it sounded!! I probably would have forgotten about this one had you not read it since nobody is talking about it at alllll.

June 25, 2013 - 9:56 am

Sweet Summertime Reads: The Nautical and The Sexy - […] (Totally kidding.) Since Estelle wrote her Dangerous Girls review, in which she discussed how it’s a fantastic thriller that she wanted to speed-read through, I have NEEDED IT in my hands. (Can July 16th hurry up and be here already?) The cover is a mix of […]

June 25, 2013 - 12:01 am

Top 10 Tuesday: Five and Five Favorites - […] Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (July 16 release): To call this book a page turner is just about the understatement of the year. A […]

June 23, 2013 - 9:51 pm

Estelle's Shelve It for 6/23/2013: Books, Pals + Events, Oh My!, Estelle - […] My eee! review of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas […]

June 23, 2013 - 6:48 am

Martha - Lovely blog guys :) Love the design and interesting posts!

June 22, 2013 - 9:26 pm

Lauren @ Lose Time Reading - Ever since you commented on my ALP review and mentioned this book I have been obsessed with it! I have already placed a preorder hold at the library for. I cannot wait to read this, it sounds exactly like something that interests me and if you hadn’t of mentioned it I probably would have continued to overlook it because the cover doesn’t really grab me! Great review Estelle :)

June 20, 2013 - 6:37 pm

Sash from Sash and Em - Ah! Natalee Holloway reference gives me goosebumps since *I* was a senior in high school in 2005 – I can still remember how my parents and my friends/schoolmates reacted to it. SO SCARY.

This one sounds like SUCH a good thriller and like you, I’m going to have a hard time not skipping to the end to find out what happens.

It’s an interesting twist on the “vacation-travely type of book”, which is like 99.9% of the time, a happy one.

What I’m trying to say is..I want this one now!

June 20, 2013 - 5:37 pm

Amanda - AH! I am DEFINITELY picking this up the next time I buy books. I am dying to read this book, especially with those comparisons you made to the Halloway and Knox cases! I haven’t read a good thriller book lately, so I’m excited to read this!

June 20, 2013 - 3:38 pm

Alexa Y. - Your goal in life is clearly to get me adding more books to my TBR, isn’t it? DANGEROUS GIRLS sounds thrilling and fantastic and just really GOOD. I’m so glad you liked it — and I’ll definitely be keeping your endorsement/recommendation in mind 😉

June 20, 2013 - 1:50 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - This novel sounds really exciting! I’m a sucker for true crime stories, both non-fiction and fiction, and this sounds like exactly the sort of book that I would enjoy. Thanks for the great recommendation :)

June 20, 2013 - 12:09 pm

Tara - I’m so pumped to read this! Hopefully I can start and finish it this weekend. I get wrapped up in those headline stories, too, so I’m curious to see how this book will make me feel.

June 20, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Rachel - You and I discussed this book a little while ago and I didn’t think I was going to read it but OMG it sounds really intense and good! I don’t read many mysteries because I get wayyyy too caught up in them, but like everything about this book sounds perfect.

June 20, 2013 - 9:10 am

Annette - Wow. This sounds like my kind of book. Love a fantastic thriller. Thanks!

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Magan: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

young adult book review of dirty little secrets by jennifer echolsDirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
Pages: 288
Target audience: Mature Young Adult
Keywords: country music, Nashville, family drama, hot guitar player
Format read: ARC received from the publisher. (Thank you!)

Summary: After a year of breaking all her parent’s rules, Bailey is living with her grandfather. Though she’s not allowed to play her fiddle or even consider joining a band, her grandfather helps her get a job playing in a tribute band… where she meets the mysterious Sam.

If your interest is even slightly piqued by any of the below, I strongly suggest you purchase Jennifer Echols’ newest upcoming release, Dirty Little Secret. Just look at all that’s in store for you…

♥ Steamy scenes.
♥ Hot love interest.
♥ Strong-willed main character.
♥ A little bit of country music in the great city of Nashville, TN.
♥ A big helping of family drama.

After Bailey’s younger sister is signed to a mega-record label, her parents focus all their attention on making Julie’s career a success. This means removing Bailey from the music scene (even though the sisters used to be a duo, playing shows together all the time) so no one catches wind of the ripped-apart-sisters-storyline that could ruin Julie’s career before it’s begun. Bailey, over the course of a year, morphs into a girl that’s only an inkling of who she used to be. She chops her long, blonde locks into an asymmetrical cut and dyes her hair black; she begins dressing sexier and edgier than ever before. Bailey wants to be badass.

When her sister leaves to go on tour, Bailey is asked to move in with her grandfather. Though she’s been forbidden to play her fiddle or participate in any shows, her grandfather pulls some strings and lands her a job where she plays in tribute bands at the mall. Some days she plays with Elvis Presley, others with Dolly Parton. The day she plays with the Johnny Cash band, she’s challenged by the guitar-playing-boy who pushes her to play harder and better. The boy named Sam who she thinks she’s met before. The boy who invites her to play with his band… and for some reason, even though Bailey should, she just can’t turn down.

Oh, holy smokes, you guys. Bailey and Sam’s connection was on fire. These two, from the moment they met, were flirty and sarcastic. It did take me a minute to accept how quickly their relationship developed, but I’d consider that a minor bump in the road. (And I was only concerned because WHOA BUDDY was there a steamy, steamy scene pretty early on and I felt so protective of Bailey.) Sam’s charismatic and quite a charmer, but he also has a story that made me cock my head to the side and squint my eyes at the pages because I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure him out.

Sam’s suspicious storyline, plus Bailey’s family drama that was slowly unfolding, and the way these two seemed to magnetically be connected completely absorbed me. Another minor hesitation was that when the climax of the story arrived, I felt like Echols could have explored the resolution a little bit more. It felt a little like, “OH CRAP! THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GO DOWN.” … *fade to black* … All is better now. I fully believe Echols has the ability to dive into those tough situations and provide an example of how these messy moments can be resolved, but it just didn’t happen here as much as I wanted.

Despite my hesitancy with areas of the story, I believe Jennifer did a lovely job with the Bailey and Sam’s story. And heck, she even got me listening to country music. (I would have said pre-Dirty Little Secret that this was darn near impossible.)

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Be sure to check out the playlist for Dirty Little Secret on Jennifer’s website too!

June 25, 2013 - 11:42 am

Jamie - I’ve been wondering about this one! I think I need to pick this one up soon because it sounds great PLUS I’m feeling like I need something to fill the Nashville shaped hole in my heart. I LOVE THAT SHOW.

June 24, 2013 - 4:16 pm

Wendy - I really want to read this one! I’m actually a country fan. =) I think I’d love this.

June 20, 2013 - 2:10 pm

tabithasbookblog - I have to read this one! I’ve recently been reading all things Jennifer Echols, so naturally this has just been moved up on my TBR! I’m really interested in finding out what drove the two sisters apart and what Sam may or may not be hiding!

Great review!

June 19, 2013 - 9:38 pm

Taylor @ Reading is the Thing - Jennifer Echols superfan here! I’m so excited to read Dirty Little Secret! I saw a so/so review of it the other day and got scared, so I’m really glad you liked it so much. Fantastic review Megan!

-Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

June 19, 2013 - 9:11 pm

Nicole - ♥ Steamy scenes. CHECK
♥ Hot love interest. CHECK
♥ Strong-willed main character. CHECK
♥ A little bit of country music in the great city of Nashville, TN. CHECK
♥ A big helping of family drama. CHECK

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 So excited for this one! We are on the blog tour so I will be reading it soon! YAY! Thanks for sharing!!

Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

June 19, 2013 - 5:16 pm

Molli - I didn’t like this one at all, as far as the characters, family dynamic, and romance. AT ALL. I DID love seeing how big of an influence music was (YAY country music!), and I did enjoy the writing style. But despite liking Sam, I didn’t think he and Bailey were healthy together at all. Blech! But this is a really honest and fair review, which is of the good. :)

June 19, 2013 - 4:04 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - Okay, it’s official: I need this book in my possession ASAP. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the previous Echols novel I read, Such A Rush, this one sounds like it was tailor made for me. This was a great review! It really increased my anticipation about this release. (Although I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not!) 😉

June 19, 2013 - 3:14 pm

Alexa Y. - I am currently in the middle of a country music phase myself, as the music seems to pair so well with all the sunshine and beautiful weather. DIRTY LITTLE SECRET sounds like an amazing Echols book! I think I’ll definitely enjoy it, so I’ll have to look into procuring a copy as soon as I can.

June 19, 2013 - 11:44 am

Rachel - So basically I want to read this book for every reason you listed above. I love me some family drama and country music. And Sam and Bailey’s relationship sounds HOT which is totally great. I would also like to know this suspicious storyline of his.

June 19, 2013 - 11:04 am

Ginger @ GReads! - I had a hard time figuring Sam out, too. And to be honest, I wasn’t 100% on board with him even at the end. Things just didn’t.. settle well with me. But! This is an Echols book! And you KNOW my love for this woman, so of course I was pleased with the story overall.

June 19, 2013 - 10:32 am

Candice @ The Grown-Up YA - While I felt some of your reservations… I decided to shrug them off and say “whatever” because this book was SO good! I loved the scene, the music… While country music is definitely not my taste, I think I would’ve enjoyed the kind they played! And wow, that steamy scene… I got protective of Bailey too but wow. Great review!

June 19, 2013 - 10:10 am

Basma - I’m really looking forward to this! I clicked onto this after Jennifer Echols tweeted about – so it was obviously amazing.
Dirty Little Secret just seems like a book I’d love to read. Your review’s made me even more excited to read it.
Thanks! :)
Basma @ My Bookish Thoughts

June 19, 2013 - 8:44 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - WOOOOO!!!
I’m about 75 pages in so far? I’m reading it exclusively at work so it’s taking a looooong time but now I MAY ignore work to read some more today haha. I’m really enjoying it so far and I love the type of drama that is going down. Super curious and I LOVE Sam.
I’m REALLY loving the music aspect too. I’m not a country girl AT ALL but I love being able to relate to the music side of it (even though I’m not nearly as technical… whatever, I count a semester of music theory as basic knowledge haha. I’m stretching it, I know), but nevertheless, I’m making a connection there and I like it!
Great review! You got me all jazzed up for it again :)

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