The Distance Between Us by Kasie West ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: money problems, small business, family secrets, romance
Format read: ARC paperback from Shanyn at Chick Loves Lit (Thanks!)
Summary: Caymen works at her mother’s doll store and is used to the clientele. Rich, snobby, you know the drill. When Xander walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandfather, Caymen knows he is just like every other Mr. Moneybags. But an unlikely friendship blossoms anyway when they realize they have a little bit more in common than they originally thought. Meanwhile, Caymen’s mom is keeping secrets, her best friend has a new musician boyfriend, and she’s a little tired of always putting the store before everything.
With such a pretty cover like this one (the lighting! the font! that dress!), I was really hoping this book would be a winner.
Friends, I really liked The Distance Between Us.
Caymen is such a snappy, sarcastic character and I absolutely loved that. She was quick, she had the dryest sense of humor, and I just loved her personality. Even if it was a cover up for her true feelings sometimes. Insecurities about the money problems her and her mom are having, their not-so-busy porcelain doll store, and the fact that she’s not sure she can make the college thing actually happen (even if she is a science genius).
When she meets Xander, her sarcasm is aimed at him with full force and I loved their banter, and how naturally their friendship started. Caymen’s bothered because the boy has money (he’s the “prince” of a hotel chain that he is set to take over) but he’s also a lot like her: not so sure if he wants to follow through with his family’s expectations of him. (Him with the hotels, her with the doll store.) So they embark on these cute/funny outings to figure out their true futures.
The distance in the title surely pertains to Xander and Caymen, but, what I liked the most, is this also has a lot to do with Caymen and her mother. Even though they live and work together in a small space, there is so much they are not telling the other one. Caymen is scared her mom won’t accept Xander (because her dad was well-off and just left them) and her mom, well, might not be all that honest with the status of their business. For two people who are so close, the reader is definitely rooting for them to just trust each other and talk.
Even though Caymen makes a ton of sacrifices (socially, mostly) because of all the hours she put into her job, it was really nice to see a hard working main character. Even if her mom’s dolls creeped her out, she more than kept her end of the bargain and I thought it was totally commendable. West also introduces some great side characters (particularly Skye, Caymen’s best friend and Xander’s grandma, Mrs. Dalton) and a few ohh-ahh twists. I enjoyed the story so much that I actually didn’t mind how seamlessly it all ended; Caymen’s character growth felt pretty spot-on for me.
Romance, family, worries about the future, and getting over preconceived judgements? West has the whole enchilada in The Distance Between Us. I’m definitely looking forward to checking out more of her work.
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Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: budding singer, New York City, music scene
Format read: eBook from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!)
Summary: Marisol has been working hard to get her voice noticed by someone in the music industry. When her chance finally arrives, will it all work out? With an unsupportive on and off again boyfriend and distractions at every turn, she has a lot more on her plate than she realizes.
Piece of My Heart reminded me of that Jay-Z song “Empire State of Mind”:
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York
Marisol is a sassy and ambitious young lady living in Harlem and hoping her killer voice will make her a music phenomenon. She sacrifices time with her best friends and her on-and-off again boyfriend, Julian, to work with her friends, doing karaoke for parties from Manhattan to the Hamptons. Hoping, just hoping that one evening her dreams will come true and someone important will notice her.
She doesn’t have to wait long. In the opening chapter, she is already set to record a track with one of her biggest musical influences (and crushes) and so begins a fast-paced story where the music industry seems so accessible to these characters, it’s almost like a fairy tale.
But Marisol’s journey to get what she wants is not easy. There are definite setbacks and people she comes in contact who may want more from her than just her talent. She may be a little naive but our girl seems to have her head screwed on straight. She wants to make it the right way.
For a girl on the verge of 18 though, Menna writes Piece of My Heart in a very young tone even though there are a lot of mature situations unfolding. I wish she had dived more into Marisol’s dad’s unexpected death, or really fleshed out her relationships with her best friends. And then there is Julian. Julian, who gets mad that Marisol spends a majority of her time doing something music related. For a guy that Marisol is so in love with, he doesn’t seem to support her dreams so much. His character is totally selfish, and I was wishing for Marisol to live up to her fiesty personality and let him go. He didn’t deserve her.
Piece of My Heart reminded me a bit of Audrey Wait and Awkward (the sudden fame), it fell more on the serious side of things and felt a little rushed. I think I would have enjoyed this one more if the actions and thoughts of the main character were more age appropriate and some of the plotlines were more streamlined.
A bonus? Menna wrote some original songs and showcased them in the story. Definitely a nice addition.
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We have an emergency situation on our hands!
I innocently clicked into this post like I do every single month and SOMEONE WROTE IT FOR ME ALREADY.
What is going on here?!
Honestly, DAPHNE wasn’t really too careful about disguising herself. She even included a description of herself. AND A PICTURE. So if you see this gal, be sure to let me know. I’m still working on the consequences for this offense… but just know it will be very, very mean.
But ya know since she took the time to write her own Big Kids’ Table… what the heck? I’m going to put my feet up, sip my beer (it’s nighttime when I’m writing this, don’t worry), and let good ol’ Daphne take the reins.
I am a 30-something southern wife, mom, reader, procrastinator, student. I like books with kissing. On our blog, Gone Pecan, Kristina & I mostly review YA & romantic fiction. I like books with regular, flawed people, cute stories, and happy endings. I also really love a good, long series, preferably set in Small Town, America.
One of my favorite books last year was Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong.
I love all of Giffin’s books, but this one is probably my favorite (I know, this is shocking since her book Something Borrowed is probably the book I recommend most). Where We Belong is about a 30-something woman who is confronted by the daughter she gave up as a teenager and with the choices that followed.
This book definitely could have been marketed to YA readers. We get the perspective of both these characters, Marian, the mother, and Kirby, the daughter. My favorite part of the book was the flashbacks of Marian as a teenager, her life before, during, and after her surprising relationship with Conrad, Kirby’s father. Kirby’s side of the story was very intriguing as well and could have worked as a book on its own. But both of these disparate stories came together with these fleshed out, real women who are still learning about life and themselves. It left me hopeful and happy at the end, which is the feeling I chase after with the books I’m reading.
These are some of the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months:
Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi | Release Date: August 27 | Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Summary from Goodreads: Buttoned-up book lover DJ is all sensible shoes, drab skirts and studious glasses. After an ill-advised spring-break-fueled fling left her mortified, she’s committed to her prim and proper look. When she’s hired by a rural library in middle-of-nowhere Kansas, she finally has the lifestyle to match-and she can’t wait to get her admin on. But it’s clear from day one that the small-town library is more interested in circulating rumors than books.
DJ has to organize her unloved library, win over oddball employees and avoid her flamboyant landlady’s attempts to set her up with the town pharmacist. Especially that last part-because it turns out handsome Scott Sanderson is her old vacation fling! She is not sure whether to be relieved or offended when he doesn’t seem to recognize her. But with every meeting, DJ finds herself secretly wondering what it would be like to take off her glasses, unpin her bun and reveal the inner vixen she’s been hiding from everyone-including herself.
Why I want to read this: Well, let’s see: small town, librarian, a MC who seems to be socially awkward? I’M SO THERE. This looks completely cute & funny.
The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins (Blue Heron #2) | Release Date: October 29 | Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Summary by Goodreads: What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise? Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there…or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn’t easier said than done.
Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind. In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancé, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn’t easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love.
Why I want to read this: I have read everything Kristan Higgins has written and I’m always anxiously awaiting her next book. Plus, I really liked the first book in this series and I’m looking forward to getting back to Manningsport.
Surrender to Sultry by Macy Beckett (Sultry Springs #3) | Release Date: August 6 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Summary from Goodreads: Leah McMahon is back in Sultry Springs, Texas to help her dad recover from surgery. But there’s a new sheriff in town and he’s none other than Colton Bea, the wild-as-weeds boy who stole her heart a decade earlier. Colt’s a changed man now, and the feelings between these high school sweethearts are stronger than ever. But Leah’s got a secret so devastating that he may never forgive her. Can she find a way to earn absolution and build a future with the sultry man she’s loved half her life?
Why I want to read this: Sultry Springs is a fun place to live, lots of hot, sexy, southern men who just need the love of a good woman. Colton is particularly fascinating to me after reading the two previous books in the series and I want him to have a happy ending.
I hope you give these books a try, though they may be different than what you’re used to reading! You know what they say, sometimes it’s healthy to sometimes go outside our comfort zone!
Thanks, Estelle & Magan, for letting me have this opportunity.
Ahem. Letting her have this opportunity? SHE STOLE IT!
Okay, I’m kidding. I may have asked Daphne to step in today. But does that really matter than there are new books to read?
Happy reading + be sure to let us know what’s on your grown up TBR lately!
P.S. Thanks to Daphne for being a great sport throughout this process! Be sure to follow her on Twitter too!
I’m not even sure how it came up, but Jamie of the Perpetual Page Turner and I were inspired to write these posts when we were talking about our husbands and reading one day. We thought it was funny how my husband was a reader and hers wasn’t. In my head I thought: HOW DOES THAT WORK!? Well, folks, we answer all your burning questions about marriage and reading today. Well, we try to absolutely show that both ways can work for us book nerds. Be sure to stop over at Jamie’s post today to uncover the mysteries of “I’m married to a non-reader“.
Every night in our apartment ends the same.
We’re practically salivating for the moment we end up here.
Hey now. Obviously, I am talking about the magic that occurs every night when James and I lay side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder reading our latest books.
I’ll be honest. James and I are pretty different. He hates to buy new clothes; I’m kind of a shopaholic. He loves heavy metal music and I’m a country music fan. He’s definitely way more patient than I am. He’s also more of a cook while I am a baker. But I guess after eight years together (and 2 years of marriage), all of those details are just small parts of our relationship. We share a love of beer, exploring our new city, dreaming about Disney trips, and, of course, as proud English majors, there is the reading thing.
Facts about our reading habits:
→ I buy more books than he does.
→ I read all different times a day, and he only reads at night.
→ He hates reading on his iPad. I quite like my Nook.
→ I take it super personally when he turns on his side to read in bed. (It’s silly, I know.)
→ Our bookshelves are mostly filled with my books.
→ He’s not a fan of YA. (Don’t faint, people.) But The Phantom Tollbooth is one of his favorites.
→ You can ask Alexa and Rachel. He is very good at keeping busy when I’m on a book shopping spree.
→ When we visit new towns, we really like to find a new local bookstore to check out. (Geeky!)
→ Ignoring is love when you are both reading on a beach. Just a tip.
→ Probably my favorite fact of all? Our book-themed wedding!
I’m no expert on marriage but it’s kind of nice to know I can come home, throw on my comfy clothes, and cuddle up to my guy and not talk for a little bit. I like to think that a successful relationship is about accepting each other’s passions, maybe dipping into them a little bit to show support, and allowing each other to grow separately and as a unit. And as certified bookworm, it’s comforting to know that someone loves the library as much as I do.
In fact, it’s kind of sexy.
Whether we are like this:
BONUS CONTENT: Meet James (cameo voice over by Pepper the Cat)
Now it’s your turn! Do you and your partner both like to read? Is it great? Or is it not a huge deal to you?
Be sure to spill in the comment section!
Psst. Don’t forget to stop over at Jamie’s blog!
How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler (website | twitter)
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: best friendships, secrecy, paving your own way, paintball
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thank you!)
Summary: Grace and Kya have been best friends since they were eleven years old. Something pretty devastating happened to Kya and Grace is the person who picks her up when that reality comes crashing down around her time and time again. However, Kya’s behavior is getting out of control — too much drinking, hooking up with random guys all the time — and Grace is exhausted. Does she continue to protect Kya or is it time for their friendship to come to an end?
Growing pains are rough…especially when you’re suffering through them with your best friend. I’ve totally been there with friends throughout the years: early in my marriage as I tried to figure out who I was as a wife, or even right now as some of my best friends just don’t care to make the effort to hang out anymore or respond to invitations to hang out. (Or even ask about what’s happening in my personal life — sometimes, you guys, I swear you know more about me than people I see on a regular basis.) The emotions and roller coaster ride of friendship is sometimes brutal.
In a nutshell, that’s what Grace and Kya are suffering through. Kya has a big secret that she’s entrusted Grace with, and sometimes the truth and reality of her secret leads to drinking too much and being much more flirtatious with guys than she should be. Always-loyal-Grace steps in to save the day and make sure that Kya is okay. The problem is that protecting Kya is exhausting and Grace is having to interfere much more than she should have to because Kya’s self-deprecating act is continually getting worse. Kya’s outbursts are intruding on Grace’s plans to make a college all-girls paintball team (that she thought Kya also wanted to join).
I’ll admit that I definitely felt torn about what Grace should do. Does she remain loyal to her friend to make sure she’s okay or does she speak up and get Kya more help? (It doesn’t help that Kya’s parents intentionally ignore the situation, taking the “innocence is bliss” route.) I tend to be president of the put-yourself-second club, but in How I Lost You, my emotions were on high alert. Kya was so selfish and bratty — always taking and never giving, always needing protection, but never thankful. Grace was strong and had good, good things coming her way — if only she could focus and improve her skills without Kya’s outbursts interfering. How much is too much? When do you start to breakdown if you’re always the person saving the day?
(Small side note: Kya’s behavior struck a real chord with me. I’ve had that person in my life before who calls in the middle of the night and scares the living daylights out of me because I’m just not sure what frame of mind they’re in. The drinking, the depression, the constant worrying about that person. All very real and a little uncomfortable, too.)
It’s hard to move through the rough patches of a friendship because sometimes you can’t quite determine if you’re going to make it to the other side. While reading about the problems these two girls faced wasn’t always the easiest, I could relate to so many moments. And thankfully, Gurtler included intense paintball games and a nice helping of a really sweet new boy that Grace needed on her side to break up the tension.
How I Lost You is the story of two girls whose friendship is at a fork in the road. They must decide whether to continue fighting to save their friendship or if it’s time to move forward individually. The lesson is that even if life does take us along different routes, we’re forever changed by the interactions and time we’ve had with those people.
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Hello there! The wonderful Katelyn at Tales of Books and Bands is geniusly hosting Jennifer Echols Week! Magan and I are huge Echols fans, and we have been since before we started writing our blog. She is so so skilled at chemistry, tension, those delectable sexy moments, and creating fantastically addicting stories.
To celebrate Katelyn’s event, I decided to re-read Forget You this past weekend. It’s one of my top Echols books (Going Too Far holds my heart still); main character Zoey is dealing with problems at home with her dad marrying a very young woman he impregnanted and her mom not taking it well. Things get undeniably worse when she is in a car accident and can’t remember a thing about right before the accident or during. All she knows is Doug Fox, who outwardly despises her, is suddenly not letting her out of his sight and thinking they have a “thing”. Cute boy, a mystery, and a girl with a lot on her plate. Sounds fun, right?
This book was practically sizzling in my hands. The love/hate relationship, the unknowns, and the attraction between Doug and Zoey made this a total page-turner.
So today I’m dissecting the heat. Because how hot is hot? I guess we’ll find out with help from some of my favorite “boyfriends”.
Imagine the Florida Panhandle at the end of summer. It’s warm and steamy with lots of beach parties, topless boys, and a gorgeous ocean to cool off. (Three of my favorite things.) Plus Zoey, our main character, has some of her shoreline practically in her own backyard. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
What does this mean? Pretty close to sizzling perfection. (Look at those eyes! Wait. Must focus on book.)
Not only is Zoey pretty and super fit (she’s captain of the swim team!) but she’s really good at taking care of people. Even when they screw her over. Even though she spends most of the book trying to figure out just what happened the day of the accident and working through all the changes in her family, you have to admire her for her dedication.
What does this mean? Hey girl, I’m seriously intrigued even if you act kind of crazy in this book. P.S. You are H-O-T.
Doug Fox is part Asian, has great hair, long eyelashes, a swimmer’s bod, and a great musical laugh. (According to Zoey.) He can be sort of bratty though and has a little temper but that fiery spirit makes him oh-so delicious because he’s kind of unattainable. And he keeps you on your toes. Did I mention he’s a great kisser and has gorgeous green eyes? And a killer bod? (He also has a job even if it kind of sucks because he works with his not-so nice dad. Oh — he also likes to read!)
What does this mean? I know, I know. A lot of people have no idea who Jeremy Jordan is (Broadway star) but if any of you caught SMASH you would know he is so fitting for Doug. Brooding and sort of mysterious and kind of a bad boy (a.k.a. seriously misunderstood)? That is the kind of oh-my-gosh I can’t breathe sort of scorching leading man I love.
Doug Fox is the kind of guy you want stuck with you in small spaces like the back of a police car or on a school bus. (Seriously.) I feel like he just looks at you and you feel tingly and your clothes kind of start falling of. I’m not kidding! Zoey tries so hard to remain resistant of his charms (and his eyes) but it’s really really hard + the slow burn of their tension-filled relationship (laced with all this mystery) practically sets the book on fire.
What does this mean? Look at that smolder. Channing Tatum, Magic Mike, THOSE ABS — Zoey and Doug’s chemistry is obvious off-the-charts blazing. If that’s not reason to pick up this book, I don’t know what is.
Are you done fanning yourself yet?
Then I think it’s about time you made Forget You yours. Heatwave and all.
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