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Estelle: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West: a review.The Distance Between Us by Kasie West ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 320
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. Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

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June 18, 2014 - 12:00 am

Rather Be Reading: On the Fence by Kasie West - […] the Fence by Kasie West (twitter | website) Previously Reviewed: The Distance Between Us Publication Date: July 1, 2014 Publisher: Harper Teen Pages: 320 Target Audience: Young Adult […]

July 21, 2013 - 9:41 pm

Alexa Y. - I am so, so glad to hear that you enjoyed this book! It sounded a bit too cute and fluffy to me at first, but as the reviews started pouring in, I felt like I should read this book. It does have some typical elements – like the rich versus poor relationship – but I like how it sounds like other things were added into the mix too. Plus, I think it’s quirky/creepy that they own a porcelain doll shop! Can’t wait to read this one.

July 16, 2013 - 3:06 pm

Alisa Selene - This sounds really good!

July 16, 2013 - 8:25 am

Amy @ bookgoonie - Love fun, playful banter.

July 15, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Jen - Eeep this book sounds so cute! I love books about finding one’s future, or relationships between mother/daughter. It looks like The Distance Between Us talks about just that! I also love character growth, and Caymen experiences some, so yay! I’ll have to check this one out soon since you enjoyed it so much, lovely review, Estelle! <3

July 15, 2013 - 3:36 pm

ashley - I love and adore West’s writing so I’m glad to know this is a good one, too!

July 15, 2013 - 2:41 pm

elena - their cute/funny outings were the BEST. i need some boy to help me find my passion in life. preferably on his private jet. whatever. totally agree on the mother relationship! i know we’re TOLD a lot they’re close but i actually wished there was more interaction to SHOW that they are?

July 15, 2013 - 2:36 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - Seriously, this book was just what I needed. I love that dress, too! And the shoes!! Those are my kind of shoes, right there.

July 15, 2013 - 1:24 pm

Rachel - Ok, so for a while I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this one, but I MOST DEFINITELY do. This book sounds super relevant to my life, which is something I always love, and the characters sound awesome and interesting.

July 15, 2013 - 1:08 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - There’s no denying that this cover had me at ‘hello’. I’m so happy to hear that the story encased within sounds just as lovely as the beautiful cover art. I love the fact that Caymen sounds witty, sarcastic and brash, as that was certainly my own defence mechanism when I was growing up – It’s always a nice bonus when you can relate to the protagonist yourself :) I think it’ll be interesting to watch as Caymen and Xander both conquer their initial impressions and prejudice of one another and I love the issue you touched upon regarding Caymen’s relationship with her mother. Family dynamics are always important to me within a novel and I had not heard about this aspect of the novel until reading your review. Although I’ve yet to read anything penned by Kasie West thus far (Pivot Point is still sitting unread on my TBR bookshelf) I have really high hopes for this one and can’t wait to read it! 😀

July 15, 2013 - 1:00 pm

Cassie - YES, YES, YES. I agree with every word you wrote here. I adored this book and really do hope there’s more from Caymen!

July 15, 2013 - 12:58 pm

Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea - You have totally just convinced me into buying this one very soon! I know a lot of people loved it, but I didn’t think that this book would be something I’d be into, but after reading your review, I know I’ll be reading this one pretty sharpish. I was sold at snarky main character, haha. :)

July 15, 2013 - 12:41 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - YES!!!! I loved this one so much. It was SUCH a fun, summer-y, fun read and I absolutely loved that cover. There is so much about this story that I loved, commenting on it all would be ridiculously long, but I’m so glad you loved it too. ALSO, on the back of the ARC when it mentions that this book is similar to the movie Pretty In Pink – YES IT WAS! I loved that and it stayed on my mind SO MUCH that I ended up having to watch the movie a few days later because it was driving me crazy. I can’t remember if you’ve read Pivot Point by this author, but I really loved that one too and I’m very eagerly awaiting its release.

July 15, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake. - I really liked this one too! It was so refreshing to see a main character who wasn’t middle-class by any stretch of the imagination, and who worked because she HAD to for her family, not just because she was bored or for “entertainment” money. I also really liked that Caymen was interested in science and was sarcastic and witty. I think we’d have gotten along great in real life. I thought the relationship between Xander and Caymen developed slowly & naturally, and also really liked the family stuff.

July 15, 2013 - 11:54 am

Sara (of The Page Sage) - Caymen sounds really relatable and I love that she has a dry sense of humor. Also, I love books with “ooh-ahh” twists. Really want to read this now!

July 15, 2013 - 11:19 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - I’m really excited to read this one! I loved Pivot Point, the romance being my favorite part, so I was excited to see that Kasie West had a straight up contemp. I’m kind of surprised I haven’t read it already but I’m so glad to hear all the good reviews coming back so far! :)

July 15, 2013 - 10:31 am

Christianna - I’m loving all the things you have to say about this one! I like that it sounds like it deal with family relationships as much as it deals with the romantic one. Plus you’ve got to love a snarky main character! What a fun review!

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Estelle: Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna

Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddelena MennaPiece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 218
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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July 31, 2013 - 12:37 pm

Book Review: ‘Piece of My Heart’ by Lynn Maddalena Menna | Ink and Page - […] Reviews: Goodreads Rather Be Reading: Borrow It (@readinggals) The Mad Reviewer: 3 of 5 Stars […]

July 21, 2013 - 9:39 pm

Alexa Y. - As you know, I’ve been meaning to read this one! There’s just something quite intriguing about the sound of this story and this sassy main character, and I like the fact that she’s dead set on pursuing a musical career. It does make me wary that you felt like it lacked a bit of depth, as we usually feel the same way about things. But still, I’ll give this one the good ol’ college try!

July 15, 2013 - 12:46 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - Hmm, I don’t really remember seeing much about this one around so this is nice, to be able to read a review on it. I like that you mention that it reminded you of Audrey, Wait! because I absolutely LOVE that book so hard – but then again I like that you mention the things you don’t like, which would probably be things I would find a little off as well (like the age-appropriate thing and the non-supportive boyfriend). I love music, though, so maybe this one will cross my path at some point. (Love that you put the Jay-Z lyrics up.)

July 12, 2013 - 5:27 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - It’s a shame that this story lacked a certain amount of depth as I normally adore stories that are set in the music scene! I particularly love the fact that Menna went to the trouble of penning original songs and included them in the narrative – Creative touches like that always make a novel extra special :) I might still borrow this from the library as I’m intrigued by your comparison of it to Audrey, Wait!, which is one of my favourites of the novels I’ve read thus far this year. An absolutely lovely and insightful review, as always, Estelle! 😀

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The Big Kids’ Table: HACKED by Gone Pecan

big kids

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.

Daphne From Gone Pecan Takes Over the Table

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.

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

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

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 HigginsThe 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 BeckettSurrender 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!

July 21, 2013 - 9:37 pm

Alexa Y. - Where We Belong is probably the only Giffin book that I haven’t read yet! It does sound quite intriguing though, as I’m always interested in exploring parent-child relationships. Theirs does sound complicated, but that just makes it seem more real and interesting to me!

July 15, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - So funny, just yesterday (Sunday) someone was recommending Emily Giffin to me. I’ve never read any of her books and since I’ve started reading the adult contemps lately, this friend of mine thought I’d like them. This is twice in two days that I’ve seen her recommended. Also I have Something Borrowed AND Something Blue on my shelves but have NEVER actually removed them from the shelves since I put them there. FOR SHAME. I’m ready for the next Blue Heron book too – I thought The Best Man was really cute. And I’ve heard the Macy Beckett books are really great and Southern so they’re ones that I’ve already got my eye on! This is a great, great Big Kids’ Table. I love it!

July 12, 2013 - 12:45 pm

Sharon @ The Book Barbies - How have I never heard of the Sultry Springs series before? It sounds like it’s right up my alley. ♥

I’m not sure how I feel about the plot of Love Overdue, but I’ll probably wind up reading it! Small towns and librarians? Yes, please!

And hooray for the Kristan Higgins love. ♥ I can’t wait to be back in Blue Heron!

July 12, 2013 - 12:31 pm

Lucy - Nice feature, ladies! You may have convinced me to give Emily Giffin’s books a try. And I agree that Love Overdue does look cute.

July 12, 2013 - 8:19 am

Carrie - I just finished Sultry with a Twist the other day. Definitely a fun book. Intrigued enough to read more. Thanks for the recs!

July 12, 2013 - 8:15 am

Amy @ bookgoonie - I love reading off the Big Kid’s, AKA Adult, table too. I guiltily enjoy reading kissy-swoony scenes.

July 12, 2013 - 8:09 am

Christina @ Allodoxophobia - AHH! I’m dying to read Love Overdue as well, it looks adorable!

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Being Married to a Reader: Gazing Lovingly at… Books

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“.

But first…

Every night in our apartment ends the same.

We’re practically salivating for the moment we end up here.

Rather Be Reading Blog Married to a Reader Our Bed

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.

Rather Be Reading Blog Married to a Reader Our Bookshelves

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:

Rather Be Reading Blog Married to a Reader On the Beach

Or this:

Rather Be Reading James and Estelle on Vacation

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!

August 21, 2014 - 3:35 pm

Bookish Thoughts: My Boyfriend’s Reading Journey | Oh, the Books! - […] The first ones I can recall are Jamie’s “Married to a Non-Reader” post and Estelle’s “Being Married to a Reader” post. Both are quite fun and I definitely encourage you check them out. But today, I wanted to focus on […]

July 30, 2013 - 9:58 pm

VeganYANerds - Hey Estelle & James! Nice to see you both again :)

I love that you both read, but that you have different genres and ways of reading. Chris is not a reader, but he has his computer stuff, so while I’m reading, he’s on the computer and we’re both occupied. He doesn’t understand why I love to read or why I read so many books :)

July 21, 2013 - 9:35 pm

Alexa Y. - I basically just adore this post. You and James are totally adorable, just saying! (And I really, really, REALLY love that you got him to do the video, and that it was sort of willingly despite being ambushed!). I think it’s pretty great that you’re married to a fellow reader, for all of the reasons you listed up there! I know that it’s one of the reasons that Macky and I get along so well too, because we share a mutual love of stories and books. (And yes, by the way, I have seen James’ ability to be VERY busy when you’re in a bookstore in real life and it’s epic.)

July 19, 2013 - 8:55 am

Candace - My husband loves to read too! It’s a rare thing when I recommend a book he actually likes. It’s a good thing you have this blog to talk with others about the books you read. That is exactly why I recommend books to him, the only thing better than reading a book (good or bad) is talking about it with someone. To be fair, he doesn’t read as much as I do and sometimes I am not into what he’s reading either (he read Infinite Jest). Yay for reading husbands.

July 15, 2013 - 2:53 am

Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile - This is a great post. I loved reading yours and Jamie’s experiences.

July 14, 2013 - 12:14 pm

Liz (Along for the Read) - This is adorable, and I am in love with your alphabet print sitting on top of your bookshelves.

July 14, 2013 - 1:08 am

Jasmine Baggenstos - My husband and I both enjoy reading, but he’s a more casual reader. He’ll go a long time without reading anything and then suddenly read a bunch at once. He recently read the first three Heroes of Olympus books in a week or so. He does read YA a bit, but doesn’t love it the same way I do.

It’s nice when I can walk into the apartment after work and be all “give me a few minutes, I’m a super important/exciting/emotional part” and he’s okay with that.

July 13, 2013 - 9:36 pm

Angie - My husband reads sometimes… not as much as I do but he does read. He goes to bed so early that I always have to read in the living room. If he is out of town though I hurry upstairs to read in bed! My dad never reads and I know that must drive my mom nuts!

July 12, 2013 - 12:26 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - AAAAAhhhhhhh I adore y’all. You guys are very fortunate. The quiet-time-to-read and reading-together thing is really important to us readers, no?

July 11, 2013 - 11:12 pm

Alisa Selene - My hubby is a reader as well and we like sharing books together..he likes YA but perhaps not as much as I do..his passion is Dr. Who and we are both fans but he reads lots of tie-ins etc.
Loved both of your posts!

July 11, 2013 - 10:27 pm

Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books - I enjoyed reading both your and Jamie’s takes on this – which is not exactly a small concern for those of us who are voracious readers! That’s so cute and amazing that you two are able to share so many book-related moments together. I’ve been working on encouraging my boyfriend to read in bed with me – I just love doing that at the end of the day. I think he falls somewhere in between being a lover of reading and someone who doesn’t read at all, and it’s fine with me. We share some things book-related, and I get to have some things that are totally mine. That’s awesome, though, that you and your husband are able to share a love of books. It sounds like it really works for you two!

July 11, 2013 - 10:13 pm

Laura @ The Girl and Her Books - Aw, this is so adorable. I’m in no serious relationship, but I can only hope when I am in one he’ll be a reader. I’m not seriously concerned with it, though. I do think it would be really nice for us both to love books. Also your husband is reading my favorite book too! :)

July 11, 2013 - 8:53 pm

Tara - YOU GUYS ARE SO FREAKING CUTE!! I enjoyed Pepper’s commentary as well :)

July 11, 2013 - 8:05 pm

Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby - STOP BEING SO CUTE YOU GUYS. Seriously, this post made me smile & smile.

Sadly, my boyfriend isn’t a big reader. In the few years we’ve been together I’ve seen him crack open maaaybe four books & I’ve yet to hear about him actually finishing one.

Even though he’s not a reader, he supports my love of it 100% which is awesome & doesn’t mind when I need to rant about a book or do a little flailing. :)

July 11, 2013 - 2:01 pm

Lauren @ Love is not a triangle - What a fantastic post! You guys are the cutest. Also, I love your bookshelves. My husband only reads when he has gobs of free time, which was earlier in our marriage before kids. Thankfully, he still appreciates books and bookish events, so he’ll listen if I talk about what I’m reading or attend author tours with me. Love that despite your differences, you’ve found something that you both share. Even if you don’t read the same things. Oh and tell your hubs that I LOVE The Phantom Tollbooth too!!

Like you, one of my favorite places to read EVER is the beach! I could sit in the sand all day with a book in front of me. In fact, my family goes to the beach for a week every summer and that’s what I used to do, before I had kids. Then I had a huge wake-up call because they’re little and I actually have to PAY ATTENTION to them when we’re on the beach. It’s a huge bummer ;). I don’t know if kids are on your horizon, but make sure you prepare yourselves for that change, if you have them. Going to the beach is NOT the same. Seriously, it’s one of the hugest adjustments I’ve had to make. Silly, I know. Of course I wouldn’t change it, and I know one day, I’ll be able to read there again.

July 11, 2013 - 1:08 pm

Allison L - Aww! That video is so cute! I’m single but, I’ve always looked for someone who could share my passion for reading. He doesn’t really have to be as into reading as I am but at the same time I really want someone I can discuss thing with on an intellectual level, you know? Or at least if he’s not a reader, I want him to be able to support my love for it. Anyway, this is such a fun post. Off to check out Jamie’s now! :)

July 11, 2013 - 1:00 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - You guys are so cute! I LOVE that you had a book-themed wedding! Unfortunately I don’t think Shane is down with that. But that’s okay! I actually gushed over Jamie’s post because that’s exactly how I am with Shane. Do I wish we could connect over books sometimes? Sure. But we each have our own hobbies and I kind of love that. (No competition or disagreeing over books!)
I love that you get to share reading together! Love this pair of posts by you and Jamie!

July 11, 2013 - 11:04 am

bookrockbetty - You guys are so cute!! It must be awesome to have a book lover hubby! It’s nice that you guys share a lot of other passions as well!
Mr. Betty reads a lot of non fiction… but he has been reading some YA fiction lately so that has been fun! I gotta admit, like you, I find it reaaally sexy when a guy reads! The last few weeks have been awesome– every time I look out in the living room after we put the baby bettys to bed he’s been out on the couch with a beer and a book!!! The best part is that it bothers him when I start talking to him. HA!!! How can I complain about that when I GET IT? hahaha Anyway, when he isn’t into a book he does get a little annoyed and jealous of my books, usually because he will say something and I literally don’t hear him. He is also super sweet and makes me tea every night when it is time to read. That is support. lol :) I think it is a win for him too though… if there is something on TV that I’m not into (sports or that stupid wipe out show that i hate.. haha) I’ll just read next to him and it allows him to watch without feeling guilty! <3
PS… Hiii Pepper!! And you lucky duck— i noticed those tattoos!!! 😉 😉

July 11, 2013 - 10:09 am

daphne - y’all are totally cute. i wish my hubby read more, but he’s more of a listening to audio books on the way to and from work, but i gladly support his habit and he puts up with me reading in the car when he’s driving and wants to talk (mostly).

July 11, 2013 - 9:46 am

Ghenet - That video was adorable! :)

My husband is a reader but in a different way…he loves audio books! He’s always listening to one, and it’s his preferred method of “reading.” He doesn’t listen to the same kinds of books that I read–he likes non-fiction about sociology, psychology, etc.(think Malcolm Gladwell-type stuff) but sometimes I’ll read one of his NF picks if it sounds interesting to me. And! When I read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS last year I raved about it so much to him that he downloaded the audio book and listened to it. He liked it! :)

Anyway, I definitely appreciate that my husband enjoys books (even if he prefers listening) and I agree that it’s important to have separate interests and some “quiet time” at home! It makes the time spent together more special.

July 11, 2013 - 9:28 am

Jamie - You guys are too cute!!! I love both of our posts and, as much as I’m ok with Will not being a reader, I can dream about being able to read in bed together (he better not turn over to the side though!!)

ALSO..omg YES..I am SOOOOO happy that Will understands that beach time is reading time. He just sleeps haha. But his family this past week wanted to TALK TALK TALK. I’m like noooo please stop. I don’t want to have to just ignore you.

ALSO I can’t believe I didn’t add “lets you have a bookish wedding” under my “characteristics a good non-bookish husband should have”…because he totally did!! He even hunted all around the city for old books with me. SIGH. Fail. I should put that on there before he notices 😛


Loved that we did this! :))

July 11, 2013 - 9:17 am

Ginger @ GReads! - I love the vast differences between your side of the bed & James’, haha This was such a fun post idea! Loved getting a more personal glimpse inside yours & Jamie’s marriages. As much as I love to read, I have a feeling I’ll end up with someone who’s not much of a reader – but let’s hope he can still appreciate it! lol

July 11, 2013 - 9:06 am

Bookworm1858 - I love it! I’m not in a relationship but one of my criteria is love of reading or willingness to support the love of reading that’s in me (especially in regards to decorating using books.)

July 11, 2013 - 9:00 am

Rachel @ hello, chelly. - My favorite part of this post is definitely the video. You guys are adorable!

And yes – James was very patiently standing off to the side while you, me and Alexa roamed around B&N :)

July 11, 2013 - 8:58 am

Cassie - This is so great. Especially the video at the end, HI JAMES! :) Jon is in between, he reads but not much, but he gets VERY into his books when he does, so I suppose I’m in between your answers AND Jamie’s! But hey, it works 😉

So glad you and James can share one of your biggest loves, though <3 Since you clearly don't agree on music 😉 [don't worry, neither do me and Jon!] hahaha

Love youuu <3 and this!

July 11, 2013 - 7:16 am

Kelly - The hubs is a reader, but only sporadically. Like when he found GoT, I couldn’t get him to do anything because he wanted to read them so badly! Fortunately, he’s content to play some video games while I read on the couch next to him and we lovingly ignore each other for an hour or so, before putting down our respective hobbies and getting out of the house to do something!

July 11, 2013 - 6:54 am

Ramona - Very cute!! Loved Pepper’s comments as well. XO

July 11, 2013 - 6:21 am

Laurie C - I got a kick out of yours and Jamie’s posts on this topic! Both of your husbands were such good sports about it, too!

July 11, 2013 - 1:14 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Omigosh! Did I know that you had a bookish themed wedding? I seem to remember that I knew this already — but I might not have known. It could be baby brain, very possible. In any case: WE DID TOO!!!!!!

Love bookish hubbies. They’re the best kind, in my totally-biased opinion. Although I do wish that my hubby would read less chess, and more of the book that I am constantly recommending to him. I know that he’ll love them all, but he can’t read as fast as I add them to his TBR list 😉

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Magan: How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler

Book Cover for How I Lost You by Janet GurtlerHow I Lost You by Janet Gurtler (website | twitter)
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 309
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.

rather be reading worth it icon

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July 21, 2013 - 9:27 pm

Alexa Y. - I really, really like the fact that this book is about friendship, and the growing pains any friendship goes through. The book seems to answer (in its own way) the question of when is enough enough, and I’d be intrigued to see how Gurtler plays with that concept here. I don’t ever feel like I read enough books about friendship, so this makes me pretty excited to check this out!

July 15, 2013 - 1:01 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - Oh wow, this one sounds like my kind of book. And Magan, you raise some questions that I actually think about in my own personal life too: When do you start to breakdown if you’re always the person saving the day? (for example) The Grace’s of the world sometimes tend to be taken advantage of and then when we need someone, hmmm. Anyway, I digress. I’ve seen this one around and wondered about it. It sounds really thought-provoking and tough and issue-y and kind of good. And tough. Which is sometimes just the kind of book that I like.

July 11, 2013 - 3:18 am

Laura @ the Booksmartie - Woah,this sounds kind of intense but SO good. And it’s a bit similar to a situation I found myself in, too. Well…really only a bit. My friends were never as out of control as you described Kiya in your review, but I totally get what you mean when you say your followers know more about you than real people who are around every day. Really, really great review of a book that definitely sounds worth reading 😀

July 10, 2013 - 10:17 pm

Magan - Jen, I did a really silly thing and forgot to update the descriptive words from the post I copied the format from. Oh, boy! Thank you for pointing out Nantucket because … well, that’s not where this book is set! ANYWAY, I’ve updated them now. I definitely had some cringe-worthy moments while reading HOW I LOST YOU because things hit very close to home for me as well, but if you do choose to pick it up, I hope you enjoy it! Thank you for commenting! xo

July 10, 2013 - 9:49 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I had to laugh when I saw that this was yet another book set in Nantucket (Judging by your keywords). That setting is sure making the rounds this summer! 😉 All joking aside, I was really moved by the synopsis of this novel as I faced a similar situation a couple of years ago with a close friend. She was engaging in some rather harmful behaviour and was involved in an abusive relationship but swore me to secrecy. Unfortunately, our friendship didn’t survive the turmoil that followed when I attempted to seek help for her. I suspect this book might hit a little *too* close to home for me, but I can certainly see why this would be a wonderful book for others to read as I’m sure most of us can relate to the subject matter in one way or another. Absolutely lovely review, Magan :)

July 10, 2013 - 7:38 pm

tabithasbookblog - This one sounds like my type of book! Kya sounds a little bit like a friend I had, so I’m interested in seeing how Grace handles the situation – and what comes to their situation. I’m pretty curious about what this problem is – the synopsis might say, but I think I’m going to leave it as a surprise for when i read this one.

Fantastic review!

July 10, 2013 - 9:42 am

Hazel - This looks like my type of read. Thank you for sharing about it! Lovely review!

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Turnin Up the Heat: Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Jennifer Echols Week Hosted by Kate

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?

survey says:

Rather Be Reading Turnin Up the Heat Zac Efron Rating

What does this mean? Pretty close to sizzling perfection. (Look at those eyes! Wait. Must focus on book.)

main character.

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.

survey says:

Rather Be Reading Turnin Up the Heat Ryan Gosling Rating

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.

the boy.

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!)

survey says:

 Rather Be Reading Turnin Up the Heat Jeremy Jordan Rating

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.

the chemistry:

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.

survey says:

Rather Be Reading Turnin Up the Heat Channing Tatum Rating

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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July 21, 2013 - 1:27 am

Alexa Y. - I might be a wee bit obsessed with your ratings system(s) in this post. You picked some VERY hot boys indeed! On the other hand, I’m pretty excited to read FORGET YOU soon because it does sound like the kind of book I’d truly enjoy. I think that the combination of good characters + sparks + an awesome setting is always a good thing :)

July 15, 2013 - 1:09 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - You win all the awards. xo

July 14, 2013 - 12:18 pm

Liz (Along for the Read) - Easily the best rating system I’ve seen. I haven’t read much of Jennifer Echols (only her boys next door which I didn’t love) but I know her more serious stuff is supposed to be very different so she is definitely someone I need to read.

July 11, 2013 - 12:32 am

Bookworm1858 - I didn’t really like Forget You-too dramatic-give me The Boys Next Door or Major Crush but I *really* like the pictures here. Isn’t Jeremy Jordan filming The Last 5 Years with Anna Kendrick (answer: yes) Will I be seeing that opening weekend? (Answer: YES!)

July 10, 2013 - 11:51 pm

Katelyn - This post is made out of absolutely PURE AWESOMENESS! I love all the hotties you used to rate this book; I mean come on you have Channing and Zac in the same vicinity. My heart could hardly handle it! Forget You happens to be my absolute favorite of hers and I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said. The characters, the setting, the steamy romance…it is all so deserving of hot heads on popsicle sticks :)

July 10, 2013 - 7:40 pm

tabithasbookblog - I love the rating system!! And I love Forget You – it’s actually my favorite Jennifer Echols book. (:

July 10, 2013 - 4:22 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - BAHAHA OMG! This is the best post ever, you guys! Look at all the handsome!! *drools*

July 10, 2013 - 3:13 pm

Daphne - i love me some Jennifer Echols & i haven’t read this one yet, but I’m on top of that, Rose!

July 10, 2013 - 11:38 am


LOVE IT! *wipes up drool*

July 10, 2013 - 11:25 am

Sharon @ The Book Barbies - This is the the best rating system ever. EVER. You should win an award. 😀

July 10, 2013 - 9:46 am

Cassie - Lets get real, Channing Tatum and Ryan Gosling on popsicle sticks? Did you make real life versions of these? Cuz i want them; stat!

ANYWAY! I’m done drooling, anything that gets 5 Channing’s is WORTH IT FOR ME!!! And this post is so great, LOVE IT!!

And makes me super happy that FORGET YOU is my next beach read! WOOHOOOOOO!! <3

July 10, 2013 - 8:31 am

Rachel @ hello, chelly. - OMG I absolutely love this post! The rating system? Genius. (Although – why isn’t Joshua Jackson on here?!) Your review makes me want to buy the book ASAP.. in fact I’m pretty sure I will since I’ve been meaning to read another Jennifer Echols book anyway :)

July 10, 2013 - 7:23 am

I still haven’t read Forget You but definitely will soon. :)

July 10, 2013 - 5:36 am

VeganYANerds - Jennifer deserves for it to be her week, every week! Going Too Far is defo my fave of hers too (SO GOOD!) and now I want to re-read it.

Love your ratings!

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