2017 Love-a-Thon Questionnaire

February 18, 2017 Features 0

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An Introduction to You and Your Blog

1.    What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?

Hey, I’m Rachel. I’m from Huntington, West Virginia.

2.    Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?

I’ve loved reading since I was a little kid. I can’t even remember a time I wasn’t obsessed with books. I was even that weird kid that actually liked taking the AR tests that you had to take each time you read a book in elementary school.

3.    How did you get involved in the online book community?

Well, I really liked blogging and writing in general. Then one day I realized that I wanted to read more books and write about what I was reading. So after reading some other book blogs out there, I realized that this is what I wanted to do.

4.    How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name?

I chose blogging out of just wanting a space where I could talk about books. Like I said, I had a major love of writing from the start and writing about books in particular seemed to make sense because I loved them so much. I made this my Twitter name in like eighth grade because I thought I was so cool and clever. It became my blog name because I honestly couldn’t think of anything else.

5.    What’s your favorite thing about the online book community?

I love finding people who love the same books that you do and getting to just fangirl over these books as much as possible is an awesome feeling.

6.    What sort of posts can readers expect from you?

Mostly just reviews and lists. I’m pretty boring for the most part, but I’m hoping to expand that to other more creative posts in the near future.

7.    What book genres do you talk about most?

Young Adult and Romance, both mostly Contemporary.

Favorites

1.    Favorite food? Beverage?

Reese cups and Dr. Pepper.

2.    Favorite color?

Pink.

3.    Favorite things to do apart from reading?

Writing, watching football, baseball, and basketball, and listening to music.

4.    Favorite tv shows?

I watch WAY too much TV. It’s a problem. I love Shameless, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Grey’s Anatomy, This is Us, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and the list goes on and on really!

5.    Favorite movies?

The Princess Bride, Pitch Perfect, Almost Famous, Silver Linings Playbook, and Moonlight. There’s so many more but I can’t think of any at the moment.

6.    Favorite musical artists?

Taylor Swift, One Direction, Twenty One Pilots, Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys, Chance the Rapper, Avett Brothers, The Decemberists, and Bob Dylan.

Book Talk

1.    Favorite childhood books?

I loved Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House books, Charlotte’s Web, and The Babysitter’s Club.

2.    Favorite books read in the last five years?

Fangirl, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Jellicoe Road, Anna and the French Kiss, Eleanor and Park, and so many more!

3.    Favorite genres?

Contemporary and romance YA and also adult romance.

4.    Underrated book, series or author you love?

I feel like a lot of people know who she is, but I absolutely adore Dahlia Adler.

5.    A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell would be awesome. So would Every Day by David Levithan.

6.    Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?

Olly from Everything, Everything. Taylor from Jellicoe Road. Simon’s family from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

7.    Books you want to read in 2017?

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord, Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy, and Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios.

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Difficult Women Review

February 15, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Difficult Women ReviewDifficult Women by Roxane Gay
on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 260
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Bad Feminist
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State—which earned rave reviews and was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, NPR, the Boston Globe, and Kirkus—and her New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the marriage of one of them. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

So this was a rating that I really struggled with. I feel like Roxane Gay is a wonderful writer who can do absolutely no wrong. Anytime I read something by her, I automatically want to read more and more from her. Seriously though, I google her to see what blog posts she’s written that I haven’t read yet. In other words, I will read her grocery list and be totally satisfied with it. On the other hand, this was a bit of a it’s me, not you situation. A lot of the times I picked it up, I wasn’t really in the mood to read these stories. A lot of Gay’s fiction stories are pretty dark and can be hard to get through. I think that you have to be the kind of person who doesn’t mind reading difficult subject matter. The writing is absolutely beautiful, but some of the content was hard for me to personally push through.

I’m so conflicted with this rating because I think it’s good to be made uncomfortable from stories. I don’t think that all stories should be these happy tales filled with perfect people. Roxane Gay is so fascinating because she takes broken people and displays it in such a real and heartbreaking way. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything, she gives us the raw truth. I applaud her for doing this in such an unfiltered fashion. She’s a remarkable writer, that’s something that no one can deny.

Some of the stories completely punched me in the gut. Some of them sucked me in and made me want far more pages than what we had. Some of the other stories seemed to drag on a bit and I wasn’t sure where the story was going. A couple of the stories had such horrific events going on one after the other that I was just ready for something good to happen to the characters. But like I mentioned earlier, not all things are happy, and a lot of terrible things do happen so I’m glad that Gay isn’t afraid to include these things. I also feel like sometimes there’s a limit of how much darkness you want to read. That being said, I think you need to be well prepared for a dark book and I really wasn’t at that time so it was hard to push through. Some of my personal favorite stories were I Will Follow You, The Mark of Cain, Break All The Way Down, Best Features, The Sacrifice of Darkness, and Strange Gods.

In the end, I decided to give Difficult Women four stars. I enjoyed more stories than I disliked. There was only about three stories that I didn’t really relate to or understand. Though this is a heavy book filled with some dark subject matter like sexual violence, kidnapping, miscarriages, death, and gang rape, it’s also a beautifully written book. It took me awhile to read it, but I’m still glad that I stuck it out until the very end. Gay isn’t capable of writing a bad book and this was no exception. I can’t wait for Hunger to come out later this year.

four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Slow-Burn TV Romances

February 14, 2017 Features 12

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is a place where you can share all of your lists with other list lovers out there. There’s a new theme every week to center your list around. This week, the theme is all about romance types/tropes in TV, books, or movies. I chose to talk about my favorite slow-burn romances from TV. I thought this was an awesome topic, and I’m excited to show off some of my favorite TV couples that I don’t get to talk about nearly enough. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this topic.

1. Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls

Image result for luke and lorelai

Look, Luke and Lorelai are one of my all time favorite TV couples. They are second only behind Coach Taylor and Tami from Friday Night Lights. They are pretty much the sole reason why I wanted to talk about this trope. From the very first episode, it’s obvious that these two have some serious chemistry. They continue to fight it and remain just friends for four whole seasons before they finally have their first kiss. Even after that, they have a ton of obstacles that get in the way of things. Aside from all that, we can’t deny that they are meant to be and I love them so much.

2. Tara and Christian from Dance Academy

Image result for tara and christian dance academy

I’m a huge fan of Dance Academy and this couple is a major reason why. They also fit under the category of hate to love and then friends to lovers in a way. In the beginning, I had no clue that they were going to end up together. Although it took them awhile to get there, they eventually found their way and it was magical. I can’t wait to see how things end up for them in the movie that’s coming out here pretty soon!

3. Jim and Pam from The Office

Image result for jim and pam the office

There’s no way that I can talk about TV couples and not include these two. They fit into a ton of tropes over the years, specifically friends to lovers as well. It’s pretty obvious that they are going to end up together, but it gets delayed for such a long time due to the fact that she’s engaged in the beginning and everything. The chemistry is so electric, and it was such a relief when they finally got married.

4. Chandler and Monica from Friends

Image result for chandler and monica

I absolutely love Rachel and Ross together too so I wasn’t sure who I should include. I went with Monica and Chandler because even though the slow-burn and will they or won’t they thing doesn’t last as long, it’s still definitely up in the air in the earlier seasons. I just thought they were a stronger couple as a whole. I just love them both so much.

5. Peyton and Lucas from One Tree Hill

Image result for one tree hill peyton and lucas

Though they get together pretty early on, they have TOO many obstacles that get in the way. The whole love triangle between them and Brooke was a dark time for me. We always knew that these two were meant to be together, so all the other relationships that happened felt so pointless.

6. Ben and Leslie from Parks and Recreation

Image result for parks and recreation ben and leslie

The chemistry between them is so real from basically the moment that Ben shows up. However, there’s a lot of complications since he happens to be her boss and everything. They are still yet another cute couple that I adore. I have to admit that Andy and April are my favorite couple on the show, but these two were pretty great as well.

7. Rory and Jess from Gilmore Girls

Image result for rory and jess gilmore girl

So I cheated and had to add two from Gilmore Girls. This wasn’t totally a slow-burn since the feelings were clear from the start, but they took a ridiculously long time to get Dean out of the picture. I’m honestly still pissed about how things didn’t go down between them in the revival, but I’m still holding out hope because I really believe that they make the perfect couple. Jess has really matured since his early days of being a bad boy, and Rory is honestly not all that mature so I think he would help her out. Wow, it’s weird how reversed the roles are right now.

8. Seth and Summer from The OC

Image result for seth and summer

How can you not adore these two? Ryan and Marissa were clearly hot messes, but these two always had it together for the most part. They were rather dysfunctional at times, but they still balanced each other out. Seth is seriously the most adorable fictional character in the whole world and I’m still not over the fact that he isn’t real. I love Seth and Summer and always will.

9. Wade and Zoe from Hart of Dixie

Image result for hart of dixie wade and zoe

It’s pretty obvious that I just really like Rachel Bilson. She was awesome in Hart of Dixie. I was a huge fan of her and Wade together from basically episode one. They were a major slow-burn due to the fact that Zoe had feelings for other people and whatever. I also thought the whole storyline where she was like engaged to someone else was ridiculous. But of course, Zoe and Wade found their way back to each other and it was beautiful.

10. Lydia and Stiles from Teen Wolf

Image result for teen wolf stiles and lydia

So I’m not even sure if this should be on here. I stopped watching Teen Wolf awhile ago, and last time I checked, Stiles and Lydia haven’t even kissed. They’ve both been with other people for most of the series, but I’m really hoping that they end up together. I find it so adorable how Stiles has had this crush on her for such a long time. I’m going to be depressed as hell if this doesn’t happen.

There’s my list of some of my favorite TV slow-burn romances. I could honestly keep on going because this was such a fun list to make, but I’ll spare you guys. I hope that everyone has an awesome Valentine’s Day! Make sure to share your list with me. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week!

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ARC Review: #famous

February 13, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: #famous#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 14th 2017
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?
Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

So I was really excited to read this book. The plot is that this girl takes a picture of this cute guy from her school while he’s at work and posts it, then it becomes extremely popular. I’m sure you guys have heard of Alex from Target, and it’s a very similar concept to that one, though it obviously adds much more plot and drama to it. I enjoyed how this book took on the topic of social media and how it can easily impact someone so quickly. The interesting thing about it is what it means to become an overnight sensation, which is more and more common in our society of YouTube and other social media platforms. Though I liked the plot itself, I wasn’t a fan of all the typical high school cliches that went down. It didn’t feel all that unique in a lot of ways, which was disappointing. It was a good book, just not my favorite as a whole. It was mostly rather forgettable.

Rachel is a “nobody” who just happens to take a picture of her crush Kyle and is obviously shocked when it becomes insanely popular within hours. I thought that she was a solid character for the most part. I didn’t find her all that memorable though. I will admit that I sympathized with the fact that she was immediately cyberbullied for posting the picture. It’s definitely unfair how her appearance is automatically scrutinized though that had nothing to do with the picture itself. I do believe that’s realistic because the internet can obviously be really cruel for no reason.

Kyle is honestly kind of a douchebag. He’s working at a place in the mall when Rachel takes his picture and it goes viral online right away. He’s pretty popular in school and has a hot on and off girlfriend. He received his douchebag status for how he judged Rachel for literally no reason. I didn’t understand why he felt like she was weird. We had no evidence that she did anything weird besides the fact that her hair was curly. It just seemed like a super cliche and annoying thing to happen. He was just your typical high school cliche dude with not really anything special about him, in my opinion. There was nothing swoony or particularly memorable about his character. I will admit that I did find it interesting how fame affected him personally. I think the author did a nice job with this side of the storyline in particular.

As a couple, I honestly didn’t care all that much about Rachel and Kyle. I don’t know what it was exactly, I just wasn’t a fan. I think most of it was due to all the cliches that happened to them as a couple. There was the good old ex-girlfriend tries to break them up and several other tropes. I thought the whole fame thing did add an interesting dynamic here, but it wasn’t as developed as I was hoping it would be. I just wasn’t emotionally invested in them which made me sad.

Like I said, this wasn’t exactly a bad book but it wasn’t my favorite either. The writing and the plot itself was actually pretty good, it was the character, romance, and general cliches that made it not as enjoyable to me. It was still a pretty addicting read. I couldn’t stop reading it once I picked it up. Part of the reason why it wasn’t my favorite might be because I’m too old to really enjoy high school stories. So if you’re okay with a great deal of drama, you’ll probably like this.

three-stars

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Beard Science Review

February 10, 2017 Reviews 1 ★★★★

Beard Science ReviewBeard Science (Winston Brothers, #3) by Penny Reid
Published by Cipher-Naught on October 11th 2016
Pages: 384
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0.5)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
2016 Goodreads Choice Awards FinalistUSA TODAY BESTSELLER
Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?
Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.
And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.
Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So... what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?
Likely, the last thing you expect.
'Beard Science' is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

I read Penny Reid’s Beauty and the Mustache and thought it was incredibly clever. I was extremely excited to read the Winston Brothers spin-off series because the brothers seemed so hilarious and memorable. I couldn’t wait to see all of these unique boys receive happy endings just like their sister did. This is technically the third book in the spin-off series, but I haven’t gotten around to reading either Jethro or Duane’s stories yet. Cletus is such an intriguing character and it was so awesome to finally get inside of his head. I’m happy that I read this book and I definitely plan on reading the other stories as well at some point. I recommend it if you’re a fan of light and hilarious romantic comedies. Penny Reid doesn’t let you down, she’s pretty great!

Jennifer was a smart and beautiful protagonist. Not to mention the fact that she was totally sassy and fierce when she wanted to be. She’s really the only girl out there that is on the same level of clever (and borderline devious) as good old Cletus. She’s very aware of what exactly is going on and is just ridiculously observant in general. I sympathized with her a lot as she struggled with her parents being so hard and judgmental of everything that she does. I understand the fact that she didn’t want to disappoint her parents by standing up to them for using her for her baking and not properly paying her, but that didn’t mean I didn’t cheer when she finally took a stand. She was a strong and fabulous protagonist. I really enjoyed her perspective just as much as I enjoyed Cletus’s voice.

Like I said, I was intrigued by Cletus whenever I was introduced to him in Beauty and the Mustache. He was definitely on the unique side of things, but I was truly curious about who exactly he was and what he was all about. He’s not your average hero or love interest, he brings something entirely new to the table here. He’s smart, perspective, and everything that he does, he does with a well thought out plan supporting whatever it might be. He’s always one step ahead of everyone else, and he’s ridiculously clever. It did surprise me how swoony he was when it came to Jennifer. So he might not be your average guy, but he brings the swoon nonetheless and I absolutely adore him.

Jennifer and Cletus make one fierce couple when it all comes down to it. Neither of them are all that great at forming relationships. Jennifer has never even kissed a guy due to how strict her parents have always been. Cletus has never been in love, though he does enjoy women in general. Once it all comes down to it though, the two of them simply make sense as a couple. They bring out the best in one another, which is something that I always love to see. The romance between them was sweet and also very hot at times. In Beauty and the Mustache, there really weren’t that many sexy scenes, so this one surprised me with a bit more heat, though not a ton.

Beard Science was a lovely book and a great introduction to this spin-off series for me. I know now that I have to check out the two previous standalone novels in this series just so I can get even more Cletus and the other boys. This is such a funny, swoony, and charming book. I will admit that I did feel like something was missing from it, which did prevent me from loving it as much as everyone else seemed to. I still thought it was pretty great, just some of it wasn’t totally memorable for me personally. I did enjoy both of the main characters and felt like their love story was well done. You should read this book if you’re a fan of the author and/or romantic comedies.

four-stars

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Flying Lessons and Other Stories Review

February 9, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Flying Lessons and Other Stories ReviewFlying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh, Kwame Alexander, Kelly J. Baptist, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Pena, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, Jacqueline Woodson
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on January 3rd 2017
Pages: 225
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, The Great American Whatever
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.
In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.
From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

I haven’t read Middle Grade in a LONG time. I honestly missed reading it. When I read that We Need Diverse Books was going to be creating a MG anthology, I knew that I had to read it. I actually ended up reading it the day of the inauguration instead of watching that, I felt like picking up this diverse book was a great response to that. Anyway, I thought that this was a wonderful collection. I’ve only read one (maybe two) of these authors previously, but I definitely plan on reading more of them in the future after this awesome introduction. The way this review is going to work is that I’m going to briefly touch on and rate all ten of the stories the best that I can.

How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium by Matt de la Peña – 4 Stars

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this author, so I was excited to finally read something by him for myself. I felt like the use of the pronoun “you” throughout the story was a little weird and difficult to follow at times. However, the story itself was still really interesting and enjoyable. I thought that it was so cool how motivated the main character was to play basketball. He dedicated his entire early morning summers to improving his basketball skills. I found his character to be inspirational in general.

The Difficult Path by Grace Lin – 3 Stars

If I’m being honest, this was probably one of my least favorite stories in the collection. It’s really not anything personal, it’s just rare for me to love a fantasy/historical fiction story in an anthology. It’s typically the contemporary stories that stand out more to me, and it was no exception in this case. I thought that the writing itself was pretty good, I just didn’t feel extremely invested in this particular main character like I was hoping that I would be. I’m sure that some people will absolutely love this one because it involves pirates and some history mixed in there for good measure. The message is a solid one, but it just didn’t totally click for me.

Sol Painting Inc. by Meg Medina – 4 Stars

This was a wonderful and heartbreaking story that touches on a young girl who’s father works for a painting business, which she and her brother help out with in the summer, and she gets a big surprise when they get a job at her new school. This story is so important because it touches on the subject of racism in a heartbreaking and honest take on it. Though it touches on a heavy subject, it also had some lovely humor sprinkled in there. It was well written, and I’m going to be reading more from this author in the future.

Secret Samantha by Tim Federele – 3.5 Stars

I’ve actually read a YA short story by Tim in Summer Days and Summer Nights. It was one of my favorites in that collection so I was looking forward to reading this one as well. It was obviously a bit different just based on the genres alone, but it was still pretty good anyway. I personally preferred the YA story because I feel like it was longer and had more character development, but this was still cute and fun in it’s own way.

The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn by Kelly J. Baptist – 4.5 Stars

This was easily one of my favorites in the collections! I looked this author up and it seems like this is the first thing she’s ever written. I find that completely astonishing. This author writes like an old pro writer, and I love it. I can’t wait to read more from them in the future! I think this is such a good book because it’s emotional and touching. I’m always a sucker for a wonderful and heartbreaking story. It focuses on poverty, death, and grief, which are always relevant subjects that never get old.

Choctaw Bigfoot, Midnight in the Mountains by Tim Tingle – 2 Stars

I hate to say it, but this story just didn’t work for me. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it was, it just didn’t click for whatever reason. In my opinion, it was the weakest story in the collection. This is about an uncle telling a legend that’s been within the family for a long time now, and he’s telling the story to his young nieces and nephews. Maybe this particular story was just meant for younger readers and that’s why I wasn’t totally a fan of it.

Main Street by Jacqueline Woodson – 3.5 Stars

To be honest with you guys, this wasn’t all that memorable to me. I know that Woodson is a treasured author, and I am a fan of her writing and plan to read more from her. But the story itself didn’t completely make an impression on me. It wasn’t bad or anything, it just wasn’t one of the standouts from the collection for me. I do understand why other people have loved it though. I guess it just wasn’t my thing.

Flying Lessons by Soman Chainani – 5 Stars

If I had to pick only one, I’d have to say that this was likely my favorite story in the collection. It was filled with such memorable and lively characters, even besides the main character. This is a difficult thing to do in a short story, but somehow the author did it with ease. Nani is one of the funniest supporting characters that I’ve ever read. It’s about a grandma who decides that her grandson needs to have more adventure in his life the way that she does, so she takes him on an exciting trip. I think it’s also important and intriguing because it touches on the issue of sexuality and I believe that’s important to note even in MG books. I know that Tim Federele also does this wonderfully in the genre, but I think there can never be enough voices that are writing these stories. I will say that I was super confused by the ending, but I didn’t let that change my rating since the rest of it was so strong.

Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents by Kwame Alexander – 3 Stars

This was another story that wasn’t a standout to me. It started out pretty strong, and I love how unique the writing style itself is. It’s not written in traditional verse, which is obviously a very different choice to make. However, it got pretty weird around the middle part of it. I wasn’t sure what direction the story was taking at all. In the end, it turned out to be rather entertaining and funny. But it was A LOT longer than basically all of the other stories. I feel like this didn’t need the extra pages the way that some of the other stories really needed them.

Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push by Walter Dean Myers – 5 Stars

He’s the only author on here who I’ve read a complete work from. I read Monster and thought that it was just so powerful and striking. This short story followed the similar theme of heartbreaking and touching, like a lot of the stories in this collection have done. It’s such a sad story, but it’s also filled with hope. It was a story that I desperately needed to read right then. I’m not going to talk much more about it because I feel like I could ramble for days about its greatness. I’ll just say that if you choose to read one short story from this collection, it should be this one, if you’re in the mood for something sad but also filled with hope.

All in all, Flying Lessons and Other Stories was such a well written anthology. I’m so glad that it was put together! I think that Ellen Oh has formed such a diverse and lovely group of authors here who contributed such powerful and beautifully written stories. I truly believe that younger readers need diverse stories like these, and I’m so glad that this anthology is out there in the world. I can’t wait to read more middle grade this year, especially from this fabulous group of authors.

four-stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Wish Had More Kissing

February 7, 2017 Features 3

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is a place where you can share all of your lists with other list lovers out there. There’s a new theme every week to center your list around. This week, the theme is all about top ten things that you wish that books have more of. I stuck with the original theme of kissing since kissing books are simply my thing. I look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.

1. The Truth About Forever

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There are a number of Sarah Dessen books out there that belong on this list. I settled on The Truth About Forever because it’s the one that really stands out to me due to it’s lack of kissing. Come on Wes and Macy, you need to kiss A LOT more than you actually do.

2. First & Then

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Devon and Ezra were one of my absolute favorite couples last year. However, there is definitely a severe lack of kissing throughout the book. I’m not going to lie, I swoon over literally every single interaction that the two have throughout the story. But I believe that they would have been made even better with more kissing.

3. The Sky is Everywhere

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I’m honestly still pissed off about the kissing that happens between Lennie and Toby. However, I absolutely adore Joe and Lennie together. Joe is one of my all time favorite book boyfriends for sure. Joe and Lennie need more kissing scenes, and poor Toby needs to be gone entirely.

4. Anna and the French Kiss

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I do like that the romance in this book moves at a realistic pace. However, I will never ever object to even more kissing scenes between them. There honestly wasn’t enough for me.

5. Jellicoe Road

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This is one of my all time favorite books. Jonah and Taylor are probably my OTP. I go back and read literally every single kissing scene that happens probably a little too frequently. There’s really only like three or four BIG kissing scenes between them, and I need about one hundred more than that.

6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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My feelings on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda are pretty similar to Jellicoe Road. I go back and read the adorable scenes that happen between Blue and Simon all the time. It just never gets old to me. However, I would be cool with Becky revealing Blue’s identity a little earlier just so we get more actual kissing.

7. Faking Normal

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Faking Normal is a pretty heavy book that touches on the serious subject of rape and the aftermath of it. Bodee was such a swoony and amazing friend to Alexi even before they started dating. I don’t think that Courtney could have written this book any better, it’s already basically perfect. Selfishly though, I’d love to have more kissing scenes.

8. The Scorpio Races

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Wow, this book is seriously amazing. I wanted a ridiculously long time to read it, but I’m glad that I finally got to it. Anyway, Sean and Puck make an awesome team to say the least. I get that there’s more important issues going on in the book like the actual races. But the romance was also a highlight for me and I would’ve loved to have more kissing scenes.

9. P.S. I Like You

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Kasie West isn’t capable of writing a bad novel in my book. She always writes the cutest and swooniest romances. P.S. I Like You is probably one of my absolute favorites. I loved the whole hate to love thing that they had going on, but I could have used even more kissing scenes.

10. More Happy Than Not

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This is actually the only book on this list that I don’t really consider to be a romance. Yes, there’s romance that goes on throughout it, but it’s rather subtle and not the central focus. It’s more about the main character coming to terms with his sexual identity. I think that it could use more kisses and romance just because it’s depressing as hell. There needs to be more kissing just to lighten things up a bit. Seriously, the title is extremely misleading, there’s not much happiness in it. But it’s still a fabulous book and I highly recommend it! It’s just more heavier than what I normally read.

So that’s my list for the week. I felt like the topic this week was such a fun one to do! Truthfully, I could probably come up with a lot more titles than just these ones, but I’ll spare you guys the rest of them. What books did you guys  pick for your list? Share them with me! I love looking at what other people come up with. I hope you guys have a great rest of the week!

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ARC Review: Accidentally on Purpose

February 6, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: Accidentally on PurposeAccidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay, #3) by Jill Shalvis
Published by Avon on January 24th 2017
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay, #1), The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay, #2), One Snowy Night (Heartbreaker Bay, #2.5)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There’s no such thing as a little in love…
Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .
There’s no such thing as a little in lust…
Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .
There is such a thing as…
As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay series. Ever since I first read Sweet Little Lies, I’ve been looking forward to getting the chance to read Elle and Archer’s book. From the previous stories, readers could tell that they had an electric chemistry that both of them were refusing to acknowledge. Anyway, I’m happy that we didn’t have to hold out any longer on getting a happy ending for the pair! I’m not sure if it’s my favorite in the series, but it’s definitely a memorable and awesome one to say the least. I recommend reading the other books in the series first due to how all the characters are connected and the small town life in general.

Elle has been an intriguing character to me from book one. She’s such a loving friend who is there for her girls automatically with no questions asked, but she’s also someone who doesn’t like needing people to be there for her. She’s stubborn and likes to take care of herself, and she’s pretty good at doing just that. Though she’s a badass boss, she does have a big heart. Basically, I love everything about this girl. She’s fierce, confident, and unapologetic about who she is but she has her vulnerable side as well. She isn’t as quirky as some of the other girls from the series like Pru, but she is still very unique and special nonetheless. She’s completely her own person, and that’s what is so great about her as a whole.

So Archer has always been this badass and mysterious guy who knows basically everything. He protects the people that he cares about at all costs, and he does everything he can to help out his friends, who might as well be his family. But like Elle, he’s also ridiculously stubborn and as some of his friends put it, he’s an “alpha.” Meaning, he feels like he has to dominate people and be in control at all times. Though he’s a tough egg to crack at times, I’ll be the first to admit that he’s an extremely swoony guy. Once you get down to it, he has a huge heart and at times it’s really adorable how he shows that he cares and loves Elle. He’s a guy who puts himself in danger all the time to help others, which is a seriously awesome and difficult thing to do. Sometimes he can be frustrating at times, but he’s a great character.

You guys, the romance between Elle and Archer was obviously a highlight of the book for me. It’s blatantly obvious to literally everyone but them that they have crazy chemistry, so it’s refreshing once they finally figure it out for themselves. At times, the romance gets rather hot, including a scene where they have “hate” sex. I’m always a fan when the characters have a history, and I thought that the story was well written. This isn’t a second chance love story though, they’ve never actually been together, but they have a sort of “platonic” history that we gradually learn about as the book progresses. I keep on saying it, but the romance is just seriously so fabulous that I have to ramble out it a little bit.

Accidentally on Purpose is a great addition to a wonderfully written series. There’s still so many characters in the series that have yet to receive a story and I can’t wait for that. Elle and Archer made an explosive couple from the start. I’m beyond happy that they were finally able to get their shit together and be happy as a couple. Although I clearly was a major fan of them as a couple, I also loved them separately. I thought they were both well developed characters who were just full of personality. This was a nice story and I recommend it! Next up, we finally get Spence’s story and I can’t wait for that.

four-stars

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ARC Review: By Your Side

February 4, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: By Your SideBy Your Side by Kasie West
on January 31st, 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of Kasie West. There isn’t a book by her that I haven’t really enjoyed. I’ve given her past two books five stars because I loved them so much. I’m happy to report that By Your Side is pretty great as well. It has a lot of angst going on here, but I really did enjoy the main storyline. I was just honestly expecting a little more focus on the whole library part of the story since that’s what the synopsis talks about. Anyway, it was yet another solid and swoony book from my girl Kasie, and I can’t wait to read her next book! Seriously though, is she capable of writing a bad book? I don’t think so.

Autumn was a wonderful protagonist. I have to admit that she probably isn’t the most memorable, but she’s still a real and relatable character that I really enjoyed all around. I felt like her struggles with anxiety were well discussed and portrayed. As someone who’s struggled with anxiety, I’m happy to see that authors are representing it more and more since it’s a topic that needs to be discussed in YA books specifically. So yeah, I liked Autumn and I felt like she was well written and well developed as a whole. Was she perfect? Of course not, but who is? She’s your average teenager who makes some dumb mistakes along the way, but that’s what makes her so easy to relate to.

Dax was definitely a troubled character. I normally don’t really go for the “bad boy” types, but she actually makes this one work for the most part. Dax has a lot of baggage and a history that is extremely tragic and heartbreaking all around. As far as I can remember, Kasie has never written a love interest quite like him. Because of his past, he was understandably pretty closed up and refused to let anyone close to him. At first this was a little annoying because we weren’t sure why he acted this way, but as the book progressed, we learned more and more about his history. I think that Kasie did a great job writing his character. I honestly just wanted to hug him again and again at certain points in the book.

As a couple, they make a pretty cute one eventually. They have a great deal of drama that gets in the way of things at times, but they are a sweet couple once it really comes down to it. The romance is a rather slow-moving one, but I thought it was at a realistic pace. Although at times I just really really wanted them to get it together already. As I mentioned, Dax has a rough background, and he’s very very careful about who he lets in. As they are trapped in the library, they slowly begin to rely on each other a little bit more and he slowly lets his guard down with her. It’s a beautiful moment once this finally happens. There were so many cute scenes that happened between them during their time in the library. They didn’t kiss or anything, but the moments where they were just getting to know each other was so adorable and I loved reading it.

Kasie West has written another fun and easy book to read. I started this one with absolutely no intention of reading it in one sitting, but somehow I managed to do that anyway. It’s a wonderful and sweet read. Who hasn’t thought about being trapped in a library? I know that I have, but especially if someone hot was trapped with me. There was a lot of drama, and some of it was a little much at times. However, I think that Kasie did the best that she could. Though this wasn’t my favorite, it was still pretty good.

four-stars

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Blog Tour: Long Way Home Review

February 2, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 2

LONG WAY HOME - Tour banner

 

 

The highly anticipated third book in Katie McGarry’s Thunder Road Series is finally here! LONG WAY HOME is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance being published by Harlequin Teen! Order your copy of the next book in this emotionally charged series, and don’t miss Violet and Chevy’s story! Check out all of the stops on this awesome tour and be sure to grab your copy today!

 

 

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LONG WAY HOME Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

LONG WAY HOME Order Links:

Amazon | Kobo | BAM | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

 

 

“An intoxicating and unforgettable story that kept me glued to the page.”

Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Walk the Edge

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

 

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Don’t Miss the First Two Titles in the Thunder Road Series! Grab your copies today!

NOWHERE BUT HERE

WALK THE EDGE

My Thoughts:

Long Way Home was just as amazing as I hoped that it would be. I love absolutely anything that Katie McGarry writes, but I especially loved the Thunder Road books. Since Nowhere But Here, I’ve been dying to read Violet and Chevy’s story and I’m so glad that the wait for it is finally over. McGarry has written yet another intense story filled with memorable characters that you cheer for every step of the way. I really hope that she writes more books in this series because I feel like it’s far from over! I recommend this if you’re a fan of YA romance that gives you the feels and has a little bit of angst as well.

You guys, Violet is seriously my girl. I thought that I related to Breanna from the last book, but it turns out that I loved and related Violet just as much. The thing about Violet is that she’s full of fire and that she doesn’t take crap from anyone. Most of Katie McGarry’s heroines have similar qualities, but there was still something unique and special about this character. At the beginning of the book, she’s not totally herself since she’s still hurting from the loss of her father and still resents and blames the motorcycle club for it. However, her old personality gradually comes out more and more as the book progresses. She’s seriously a force to be reckoned with, and I loved every second of it. Have you ever met a character who isn’t afraid to bad mouth big and scary motorcycle club leaders? I didn’t think so, but that’s just who Violet is and it made me happy to see that.

Going into this, I was definitely afraid that Chevy wouldn’t be as swoony as Razor from Walk the Edge, but it turns out that he comes pretty dang close. Chevy is his own character and is completely different from both Razor and Oz. Chevy is still seventeen and can’t officially join the club yet. But he’s also a very great football player, and he feels torn between playing football and joining the rest of his family in the club. When it comes to Violet though, Chevy totally has a soft spot. He loves that girl, and it kills him to be apart from her. I really sympathized with Chevy, and felt like McGarry did an excellent job at adding all these layers to who he is.

I love the romance between Chevy and Violet. What makes them unique is that they already have a whole history between them. They’ve already had all of these memories together as childhood best friends turned lovers, so there’s no process of falling in love since they’ve already fallen. I’d love to have like a prequel where we get to see how they first got together, but I think it was still well written anyway. The two have been separated for awhile due to the death of her father and her basically forcing him to choose between her and the club. The romance has quite a bit of angst, but the fact that they loved each other was never a question.

Long Way Home was an amazing addition to a fantastic series. As mentioned, Katie can do no wronfour-starsg in my book. She’s coming out with a new book not related to this series, but I’m automatically reading it if it’s by her. This book has it all: drama, love, family, friends, action, intensity, adventure, and everything else. I always like the second chance romance trope and the author absolutely nailed it here. I recommend that you read the two other books in this series before reading this one just because they are all connected. But McGarry still provides a nice recap of events that you might have missed if you didn’t read the other books. All I can say is read this one, you won’t regret it!

 

 

Katie McGarry’s LONG WAY HOME – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

January 23rd

Aaly and The Books – Review & Excerpt

Angel Reads – Review

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review & Excerpt

Girl Plus Books – Review & Excerpt

Letter Shelves Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

January 24th

Book Boyfriend Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Review

Lovin’ Los Libros – Review

MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Excerpt

Whatever You Can Still Betray – Excerpt

Zach’s YA Reviews – Review & Excerpt

January 25th

Always YA at Heart – Review & Excerpt

Bridget’s Book Bungalow – Review & Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

Mythical Books – Excerpt

Resch Reads and Reviews – Review

Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Excerpt

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Boyfriends – Review & Excerpt

January 26th

A Bookish Escape – Review & Excerpt

Book Sojourner – Review & Excerpt

Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Dark Faerie Tales – Review & Excerpt

Guilty Indulgence Book Club – Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

January 27th

Bookshelf Adventures – Review & Excerpt

Little Read Riding Hood – Review & Excerpt

Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt

Random Book Muses – Review & Excerpt

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Excerpt

Writing My Own Fairy Tale – Review & Excerpt

January 28th

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews – Excerpt

Zili in the Sky – Review & Excerpt

Greyland Reviews – Excerpt

Chasing Faerytales – Review

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review

Movies, Shows, & Books – Excerpt

January 29th

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

BookWorm221 – Review & Excerpt

Confessions of 2 Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt

It’s All About the Romance – Excerpt

Milky Way of Books – Review & Excerpt

Waiting For Wentworth – Excerpt

January 30th

Collector of book boyfriends – Review

Latte Nights Reviews – Review

Margie’s Must Reads – Review & Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

Readers Live A Thousand Lives – Review & Excerpt

So Bookalicious – Review & Excerpt

January 31st

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

Desert Divas Book Addiction – Review & Excerpt

Little Bookworm Reviews – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

With Love for Books – Review & Excerpt

The Cover Contessa – Review & Excerpt

February 1st

A Leisure Moment – Review

Book Bite Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Never Judge a Book by its Cover – Review & Excerpt

Pages to Explore – Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – review & Excerpt

Stuck In Books – Review & Excerpt

February 2nd

Actin’ Up with Books – Review & Excerpt

2 girls who love books – Excerpt

Books, Coffee & Passion – Excerpt

Contagious Reads – Review & Excerpt

Go Read A Book – Review

The Book Maven – Review & Excerpt

The Heart of a Book Blogger – Review

February 3rd

A Gingerly Review – Review & Excerpt

Bookish Hollow – Review & Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Lovely Reads Publishing – Review & Excerpt

Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Excerpt

Vera is Reading – Excerpt

I Heart YA Books – Review & Excerpt

 

 

LONG WAY HOME - teaser 3 Fotolia update

 

 

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Katie McGarry - author picKatie McGarry Bio:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, NOWHERE BUT HERE and WALK THE EDGE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

 

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