Estelle: Just Call My Name by H. Sloan

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg SloanJust Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: fate, friendship, romance, parents
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: After being kidnapped by their father, Sam is living in an apartment and going to school and Riddle is living with the Bells. But their imprisoned father is not done with them, and vows to put a halt to the “normalcy” they have finally been granted.

Holly Goldberg Sloan’s writing puts me in a trance. I feel calm and safe, even when the characters I am reading about may not be. She makes me believe that every little thing we do affects the bigger things, and that in the end, despite the tough stuff, we will be okay.

In her follow-up to the excellent I’ll Be There, Sloane reunites us with Sam and Riddle, two boys faced with a terrible childhood. Emily and the Bell Family, the kind and selfless family that has given these two a feeling of home. And I can’t forget Bobby who is now going by Robb, a peer who ends up in the middle of it all — sometimes a nuisance, but proving to be a blessing in more ways than one.

As much as I enjoyed hearing how life was for all of these characters and being introduced to a new one — Destiny — I wasn’t expecting this book to be so similar to the first. I kind of wish we were done with Sam and Riddle’s father and moved on to other challenges. Of course, Sam and Riddle’s situation with their dad has caused long-term effects and I would have liked them to deal with these emotions and repercussions more. Generally, more insight into Emily and Sam’s relationship, and more moments spent with the Bell’s would have made for a stronger story. Everything felt a bit too much on the surface for me, and I finished with so many questions and not enough answers.

Still, Sloan is a master at piecing together quirky characters, where the smallest appearance can equal major impact. Plus if you want to read about good vs. evil, and the journey toward a happy ending, all of Holly’s work falls into this category. Definitely check out I’ll Be There, Just Call My Name, and last year’s middle grade, Counting By 7s, for charming casts of characters you can’t help but root for.

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

Estelle + Magan: A Joint Shelve It from Texas!

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

These last few days, we’ve been together, reunited in Texas. Holy crap, you guys! It’s been amazing. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Estelle left yesterday afternoon to head back to NYC and Magan spent the remainder of the day crying. Every time we see each other, we wish we lived closer to one another.

We made a joint Shelve It our first evening together. Estelle brought a few books for Magan to read and over the last few weeks, Magan’s gotten a few new ones in the mail. Enjoy!

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Books Mentioned:

  • Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher — Release Date 11/12/13 — Goodreads | Amazon
  • Runt by Nora Raleigh Baskin — Release Date 7/23/13 — Goodreads | Amazon
  • All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry — Release Date 9/26/13 — Goodreads | Amazon
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith — Release Date 2/20/14 — Goodreads | Amazon
  • OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu — Release Date 7/23/13 — Goodreads | Amazon | E’s Review
  • Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan — Release Date 8/29/13 — Goodreads | Amazon
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan — Release Date 8/27/13 — Goodreads | Amazon

« »

Huge THANK YOUS to Stasia Ward Kehoe for Runt and All the Truth That’s in Me
and Jess from Gone With the Words for Grasshopper Jungle!

And, of course, stay tuned for more Shelve Its from us because we couldn’t avoid going to a bookstore.
Kind of inevitable, right? Estelle went home with as many books as she brought to Texas!

Happy Wednesday, friends! Thanks for checking out our Shelve It post!

Nailed It: August 2013 Book Releases + Pretty Colors

Every time, we throw one of these posts together… we can’t believe another month is come to a close. August 2013 Book Releases? So crazy how fast the summer is going. Hope you are enjoying all your books and painting your nails!

Last month, we changed things up and used Zoya colors to make some book cover palettes. We gave one of our colors away, and Jennifer won and picked an awesome red called Diana! She sent us a picture of her gorgeous manicure!

Zoya Diana from Nailed It Rather Be Reading Blog winner

Doesn’t it look fantastic?

Jumping back to this month, we’re back to the rainbow of Julep colors out there and hope you enjoy what we came up with this time around!



The Hero by Robyn Carr

Nailed It The Hero by Robyn Carr August 2013, part of Thunder Point series

This is actually the first “big kid” book I’ve picked to feature for Nailed It! The books in Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series have such dreamy covers, and when I first spotted The Hero… I was just so taken with how gorgeous the colors were. It’s such a striking cover, and from all the rumors I’m hearing, it’s the best in the series so far. (Yes!!)

Unlike other romance novels I’ve read recently, Carr’s Thunder Point series jumps from various people in town rather than focusing on just one person’s story. I like this a lot because you can really invest yourself in the characters and don’t feel like you are missing too much when you move to another book. In The Hero, we have a new football coach, a young boy who just found out who is bio dad is, and a lot more hi-jinx. I can’t wait to get started.

As for the color palette, purple has always been one of my favorite colors + I just love the shades here. Perfect for the summer but also workable for the transition to the fall.

Alaina | Gabrielle | Alice


Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

cover love for counting by 7s by holly goldberg sloan

I haven’t read a book by Holly Goldberg Sloan yet, but I’d like to change that right now. I’ve heard amazing accolades sung for this particular book. “It should win awards” has been one of the best endorsements I’ve heard for it. That means a lot, right?

Plus, this cover is ridiculously awesome. I’m so in love with the color combination and the layout. If you walked into my house, you wouldn’t be surprised to find these colors accenting our home. I’m so drawn to them! I love the pops of color on the clean white background. And the typography? Nice, simple, understated. I sent this ARC to Estelle after I went to ALA and I can’t *wait* to hear what she thinks about it. This might be a pre-order book for me soon!

Lena | Jackie | Harper


So tell us what you think of our Nailed It selections for August!
What covers are you guys loving right now and what books are you anxious
to get your hands on this coming month?

good books that aren't popular to read

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Flown Under the Radar

Hiya, friends! We’re so happy to be sharing underrated books for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the incredible ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

Something we talk about often are books that we love that haven’t hit the blogosphere and aren’t circulating like crazy but should be. We were talking about From What I Remember last week and that’s when our conversation spiraled out of control and we couldn’t stop ourselves from creating a list of books we wish more people would read.

It just so happened freebie week was coming up, so we decided we should share the list of underrated books you should definitely read. Underrated to us means: books that are amazing, unputdownable, sit-in-one-place-until-you’ve-devoured-it kinds of books, beautiful writing, books that have imagery or scenes that linger.

good books that aren't popular to read

1. From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

This is the book that inspired this whole post. It’s so completely absorbing, funny, and goes into a bit more character exploration than we were anticipating, which totally made it even more awesome. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

2. Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

When E saw Tara at a reading panel talking about DSC and how felt she wrote all she could do about losing a mom, she added it to her TBR list immediately. This book is so rich in its characters and its words and she wishes she could swim around in those feelings forever. It piques a ton of curiousity about Coney Island, and also discovery of one’s own parent. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

3. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

We both read this book before we became official bloggers, but it’s one that we definitely wish got more attention. M read the entire book on a plane after E told her she shouldn’t read another book until devouring this. Despite her embarrassment of ugly crying in public, M let the tears flow. goodreads / amazon / M’s goodreads review

4. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

M loves all the things by Melina Marchetta. Melina is one heck of a fantastic author, but this book stands out from the rest. It’s the one that has caused random scenes to pop up at unexpected moments. It’s the one where M fell in love with male protagonists. Being broken can be so, so good. (This was also a pre-blog-book-read.) goodreads / amazon / M’s goodreads review

 5. I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

A story about two neglected brothers and a girl and her family who learns to care for them. It’s dramatic but in a quiet day and there is a lovely fairy tale like quality to the pacing of the book and the twists and turns these characters take. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

books that aren't popular that should be read, good books to read

6. Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett

This book doesn’t have a ton of reviews on Goodreads, but this bad girl trying to seduce a good boy tale deserves so much more love. It’s raw and powerful and so many details are beautifully woven together. Bennett did an incredible job of making sure each part of her story was well-crafted. (And it’s only $4.29 on the kindle!) goodreads / amazon / M’s review

7. Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Sometimes books can be overly complicated with too many issues; it was a nice change of pace to read about a 19-year-old girl indecisive about her future – to continue to pursue being a professional ballerina or to move on with her life – that was her struggle. goodreads / amazon / M’s review

8. Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble

An engaging love story between two boys who are forced to work their relationship long distance. DLMG illustrates the pain and exhilaration that come with being who you are and letting the world know it, the difficult of young love, and the power of acceptance. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

9. The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

E absolutely could not put this title down. E was thoroughly surprised by the multi-dimensional storyline and the fact that an author could make me sympathize with a poor little rich girl. The joys of writing shoot from every direction in this book and there are so many moments to treasure, as well as so many that are difficult to experience. What are you waiting for? goodreads / amazon / E’s review

10. The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

As a huge fan of baseball, E already had a feeling she was going to get a kick out of this book. But Smith’s writing and description really shines as she weaves together the history of the Chicago Cubs with the story of a girl who is still mourning the loss of her father. A beautiful story that had me in tears. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

Bonus Books: We just couldn’t stop ourselves when we were making the list, so here are two additional underrated books you need to read ASAP!

11. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

E love, love, loved this book. So much so that M bought it as soon as E finished. We happen to be big Eulberg fans around here. (Who doesn’t love a little comeback when it comes to silly stupid boys?) goodreads / amazon

12. The Stalker Chronicles by Carly Moore

Cammie is a really refreshing character who has a tendency to get really nosey. E loves the family dynamic in this story, and watching as Cammie tries to overcome her (unique) flaw. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

Let us know which books you think are underrated? We’d love to know your faves!

(Don’t forget to check out the people who’ve linked up over at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone’s topics will be different so it’s a great week to scope out lots of blogs!)

Estelle: I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pages: 392
Target Audience: Young adult
: Young love, child neglect, family, music
Source: Hardcover borrowed from library

: The first day Sam sees Emily she is (badly) singing “I’ll Be There” in front of her church. The words stir something inside of Sam and both of them feel it. After Sam abruptly disappears, Emily can’t stop thinking about him and one night, they are brought together once again. Emily knows that he is thoughtful and a good listener, different than another of the boys she knew, but what she doesn’t know is that he doesn’t go to school, his father has abducted him and his brother, and the chances of him sticking around are not likely…

Every now and then I come across a book that reminds me of young adult books I read in grade school — not a ton of dialogue, filled with a bit of adventure, maybe a small love story. Even the writing style, full of clear, succinct sentences that move at a steady pace and mean a whole lot. With I’ll Be There I was reminded (once again) of Louis Sachar’s Holes and another all-time favorite, Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons. Both books deal with families, various trials, and almost come together with a fairy tale like quality.

Emily and Sam come from completely different worlds. Emily has a mom, dad, brother, and a dog. Sam has his brother, Riddle (who doesn’t talk much), a father (Clarence) who abducted them and steals to help himself survive. (Keyword: himself.) For as long as he can remember, Sam has been the one to take care of his brother, while both steer as clear from their father as possible. Sam and Riddle don’t go to school. Riddle draws in phone books and Sam tries to make some pocket change on the side so they can eat. It is absolutely heartbreaking how Clarence neglects his children. In fact, I’m shocked he didn’t leave them on the side of the road long ago.

You can see why Sam keeps his life a secret from Emily. He does a pretty good job of it too. He doesn’t answer a lot of questions, he meets her places, but her parents are concerned when they meet him and Riddle. They believe something isn’t right and when Clarence discovers the cell phone that the Bells give him… he knows they won’t be sticking around much longer.

The story certainly takes a turn from here. A slow and sweet romance between Sam and Emily, the affection the Bells have for Sam and Riddle, and the connection these boys finally have with someone come to a screeching halt and for the rest of the book, the reader is thrust into a suspenseful and frightening story. (I was so nervous I had to eat a snack on the way home to calm my nerves while reading.)

Sloan certainly nailed the feelings of a girl who has had her heart broken and hopes against all hope that Sam will come back to her. Even when she attempts to keep busy with Bobby — a self-righteous fella from her high school who is majorly crushing on her and will do just about anything to get her attention — and going about her life before Sam came into it. The change in her is so apparent. She feels entirely helpless and directionless, and loses her belief in love.

And as for the brothers… I have never read a pair quite like this. Sam has always been the caretaker and Riddle has a developmental disorder (that’s never been treated) yet they understand each other. They have each other’s backs in a way that all siblings should and it chokes me up just thinking about all they’ve been through and all the challenges they face for the remainder of the book. I was rooting for them the entire time.

One thing I loved about Sloan is how she presented a good amount of characters throughout the 400-page book and came back to every single one of them. There is not one storyline left unanswered. (One complaint though… all the descriptions talk about Emily’s awesome best friend when she is practically MIA for the whole book. She didn’t seem to fit into the super friend category at all.) It definitely showed how one moment can change a person, and affect a bunch of others without even meaning to. From the start to the very end, I felt incredibly invested in Emily, Riddle, and Sam and wanted them to find their own happiness, wanted good to triumph over evil.

Will they?

I hope you’ll take the time to dive into this moving novel and find out.

Goodreads | Amazon