New to Me – April Voting

In 2018 I had the idea to have readers and friends read my favorite books from years past. I had 20+ amazing people sign up and read some of my all time favorite books. They took the time out of their busy lives and reading schedules and read books I love and shared what they thought on my blog. It was a lot of fun and I got to see some new takes on old favorites. It actually was a fun experience. If you are interested in the reviews HERE.

This year I decided to give back in away and asked everyone that signed up to tell me their favorite book (that I have not read) because in 2019 it is time to do NEW TO ME.

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Last month I had you all vote on what I should read. 25 of you voted. This was the closest vote yet with one book getting 8 votes and one getting 7. The winner for March is:

 

Now it is your time to vote again and pick the book I will read in April. You have until 3/25/19 to get your vote in and tell me what book I should read next!

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Barely Have the Words (2)

I was looking at some of my 5 star reads, some read almost 3 years ago, that I still need to review. I realized there are some books I love so much I’m not sure I will ever be able to put into words how I really felt about them so welcome to my new feature, Barely Have the Words. I can’t adequately review this books since “READ IT” doesn’t really tell you how it made me feel, but this is my start:

Barely Have the Words (2)Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on April 4, 2017
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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five-stars

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

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

In 2017 I opened Letters to the Lost, a book I hadn’t heard much about, and didn’t close it until I finished all 391 pages. And since then I have not been able to accurately describe how Declan and Juliet’s story made me feel.  Simply put and the only adjective I can think of that is fitting for this story is beautiful, and that still feel inadequate. It was an emotional read from start to finish. Declan and Juliet were dealing with so much pain and heartache but they found each other and found an unexpected kindred soul. This was my first Brigid Kemmerer book and it is the book that made me a fan for life.

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Barely Have the Words (2)More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury Children's
on March 6, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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five-stars

*While this book exists in the same universe as Letters to the Lost, it is a standalone title.*

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay...until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

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

How could Brigid Kemmerer make me more a fan? Easy, she gave me Rev’s story (which I read a few months after Letters to the Lost) and punched me in the feels. Another one I devoured in one glorious day that still hasn’t left me. As a massive fan of the romance in a book to me More Than We Can Tell is more about Rev and Declan’s AMAZING friendship and what they will endure for each other. I mean the romance was excellent too, but Rev and Declan is where it is at. Other than that I am at a complete loss on how to explain just how amazing this book was and everything that was worth loving in it.

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Barely Have the Words (2)Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
Published by Bloomsbury
on January 30, 2018
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarlet will hold readers spellbound.

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

A.C. Gaughen writes something shocking in a book every time and I’m still surprised. She seriously gets me in the feels always and I’m here for it. Annie manages to write characters that are so intriguing you can’t help but get invested in them and I don’t really know what else to say or how to accurately describe my love for this series starter. Honestly this book was amazing and left me dying to know what was to come for these people I grew to care about.

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Barely Have the Words (2)Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen
Published by Bloomsbury YA
on January 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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five-stars

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus's black market empire to captain her own trading vessel--and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets--not only that Aspasia is an air Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can’t find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free.

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.

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

If I thought I loved Reign the Earth it was nothing compared to the love I ended up having for Imprison the Sky. A.C. Gaughen came back to this world and took it up a notch. The complexity to Aspasia endeared her to me from the start. She was doing something that wasn’t 100% moral to the naked eye but she was doing what she could to not cross a line she couldn’t get back from, all while trying to find/save her family. I felt a lot of emotion reading this book as I got to know Asp and her crew and the good she had in her. And the love interest was top notch! Just another book I loved so much I can’t manage to find the words to describe. All I know is I desperately want to read about the other two elements!

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These ‘reviews’ don’t do the books justice, but I have no other way to describe them. In the end I leave you with…READ THEM!

What books to you love and can’t review because you love them so much?

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Debut Review: If You’re Out There – Katy Loutzenhiser

Debut Review: If You’re Out There – Katy LoutzenhiserIf You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser
Published by Balzer + Bray
on March 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all.

Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished.

It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.

Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility:

Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails.

Maybe she can’t.

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

I’m a sucker for a book with a good friendship aspect. I under the draw of writing the frienemy, but I love a good female friendship that has its ups and downs but still can withstand the test of time. And I love a story that deals with the possibility of losing that friendship and how that affects one or both parties. If You’re Out There is a book that explores but with a twist and it was done remarkably well.

In If You’re Out There Zan is starting the year off without her best friend, Priya, who just moved to California. As if that isn’t bad enough Priya appears to have ghosted her, only showing up on social media to post pictures of how wonderful her new life is. While trying to figure out how to navigate her Priya-less world, Zan meets the new guy at school, Logan. He isn’t anything Zan is looking for, but he is there for her when she needs him, especially after she starts to notice something strange in Priya’s photos that makes her think…maybe she wasn’t ghosted after all. Maybe Priya is actually in trouble.

What I loved most about If You’re Out There was the focus on how friendships are hard and tricky. Like all relationships they take work and when one person isn’t there the work feel harder and not worth it. It showed how easy it is to let go of a friendship if you don’t fight for it when there is something to fight for. Zan refused to believe that her friend would just ghost her. She knew her better than anyone else and she fought for that feeling, even when she seemed crazy to everyone around her and felt crazy to herself. She fought and fought for her friendship because she believed her friend would fight for it too if she could. To me that showed what true friendship is about and why I loved the book.

I also really loved the mystery aspect of the story. Was Priya really ghosting Zan or was she in trouble? I was never really certain to be honest. I never knew which way the story was going to go because both options seemed plausible. I also liked that Logan was there to listen to Zan when no one else would. That was another huge highlight. Also helped that he was adorable.

All in all I highly recommend this debut by Katy Loutzenhiser. It hits all the right notes and will keep you reading until the end. Definitely a need to read book to add to your TBR.

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Review: The Truth About Leaving – Natalie Blitt

Review: The Truth About Leaving – Natalie BlittThe Truth About Leaving by Natalie Blitt
Published by Amberjack Publishing
on March 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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five-stars

Lucy Green thought she had her senior year in the bag. Cute boyfriend? Check. College plan? Check.

But when her boyfriend dumps her the week before school starts and she literally stumbles into Dov, the new Israeli transfer student, on her first day of school, Lucy’s carefully mapped-out future crumbles.

Determined to have a good senior year, and too busy trying to hold her family together while her mom is across the country working, Lucy ignores the attraction she feels to Dov. But soon, Lucy and Dov’s connection is undeniable. Lucy begins to realize that sometimes, you have to open yourself up to chance. Even if the wrong person at the wrong time is a boy whose bravery you admire and who helps you find your way back to yourself.

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

A few years back I read a book from a new debut author and I fell in live with it. So much so in fact I made a lot of people I know also read it and fall in love with it. That book was Natalie Blitt’s The Distance from A to Z. Since the I have been waiting for a new book from Natalie (I just found out about her two books published by Scholastic) to arrive and when I heard about The Truth About Leaving I was so ecstatic. And man did it live up to my over hyped expectations. It was so good. So good in fact I think I love it more that I did The Distance from A to Z.

The Truth About Leaving is the story of Lucy and Dov, two very different people on very different paths that cross and change both of them drastically. Lucy has everything figure out. She know where she is going to college and what she wants to study and what her life will look like. That is until her mom takes a job in a different state and Lucy’s boyfriend breaks up with her. Now Lucy is trying to find her footing and figure out what she really wants. When she literally runs into Dov, the new student from Israel, the two of them start to learn things about themselves and the world and use each other to figure out what they both want.

There aren’t enough words for me to tell you how much I actually love Lucy and Dov and their whole story. It is one of those rare books that you didn’t know you needed to read and it takes you completely by surprise. I laughed and I cried watch these two deal with life and responsibilities that an 18 year old doesn’t always have to deal with. They broke my heart a lot of the time when they fumbled through things and got scared and ran. They also filled me with so much love and hope. Simply put they are everything amazing about reading.

I waited years for this book and Natalie did not let me down. She gave me a book that wasn’t something I read a lot of in YA. She introduced me to a culture I now know more about, and two characters I hope are happy long after the pages end. I can’t say enough how much you need this book in your life. Go and get it as soon as humanly possible!

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Debut Review: The Quiet You Carry – Nikki Barthelmess

Debut Review: The Quiet You Carry – Nikki BarthelmessThe Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess
Published by Flux
on March 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Victoria Parker knew her dad's behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights.

Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.

But some secrets won't stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can't stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won't leave you alone?

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

Sometime you read a description for a book and you know going in your heart will be broken. You can just tell the main characters life is going to crush you. The Quiet You Carry was one of those books. The blurb alone almost had me in tears and from the get-go I knew I was in for an emotional roller coaster.

The Quiet You Carry is about Victoria, a 17 year old girl that finds herself kicked out of her house at 3am when her father’s weird behavior hits a head. Having nowhere to go she is placed in a foster home causing her life to plans to crumble around her. Suddenly she is in a new school, living with new people, and has rules she doesn’t understand all while trying to hide a secret she knows will change everything.

My heart truly ached for Victoria and her story. At 17 she lost everything. She lost the father that was supposed to protect her, the home that she had always known, her friends and school, and her plans for the future. I can’t imagine going through that at any age never mind 17. And not only dealing with all of that she also had to deal with the trust her father broke and the secret she was holding for him. Truly she broke my heart and I shed quite a few tears. What I loved most about The Quiet You Carry was seeing Victoria learn to trust again which wasn’t easy for her after what she had been through. Slowly seeing her let people in was the highlight for me.

Nikki Barthlemess reached all of my expectations with her debut book. She hit all the marks I expected from the blurb and I walked away from it feeling hopeful for Victoria and the life she wanted to live. I highly recommend you checking this gem out. Just make sure you have a few tissues handy…you know, just in case.

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