New to You (11): Ginger Reviews P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Ginger from G Reads!. I can’t even tell you how Ginger came into my life, but I’m so happy she did. We have a lot of great text conversations, stupid distance, and talk a lot about books. I really thought G would connect with this book when her and I were discussing it and I’m so happy she it. Let’s see what she thought about P. S. I Like You.

New to You (11): Ginger Reviews P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point
on July 25, 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

Signed, sealed, delivered...While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out...Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.

I’ve come to learn about Kasie West novels that they sneak up on me and surprise me in the best way possible while reading them. This particular story was such a delight to read. From beginning to end, I found myself smiling from the adorable storyline, to the irresistible characters. I couldn’t get enough of this breath of fresh air.

Lily is a girl after my own heart. She comes from a very crazy hectic family that is so full of life. Immediately I was drawn to the addictive chaos that Lily called home. She is still a girl with her own dreams, and her own aspirations, on top of managing siblings and household duties. Her solace lies within lyrics. Her dream is to win a lyric writing contest, where she hopes to pursue a life long dream. Already I was rooting for Lily! What she doesn’t expect is for someone to discover her lyrics, which begins as an innocent relationship of pen pals between Chemistry classes. I found myself anxious, just like Lily, to discover the next hidden note that was waiting for her in class. As Lily began to develop a connection to this secret pen pal, I too, wondered who could be on the other end of those letters.

Though the reveal came almost half way through the novel, as the reader you begin to suspect early on based on the interactions Lily has with other classmates. Without spoiling the fun, I’ll just say that her secret pen pal is not at all who she thought it would be. And when she does realize who it is, there’s an instant disappointment. Lily had built up this pseudo relationship in her mind, only to be crushed when the reality of it was revealed. This is where the true beauty in this novel really began to shine. The story shifted from an adorable secret pen pal randevu, and melded into a solid, deeply rooted story about discovering real relationships in the most unlikely places, all while learning who Lily truly is herself.

Kasie West delivers again and I can’t wait to read another one of her novels. I am so thankful for Andi’s New to You feature because it has brought a book that’s been sitting on my shelf, for far too long, front and center in my reading world.

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Thanks Ginger for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you joined and enjoyed this one. I still giggle thinking about one part of this gem! If you want to follow Ginger and see some great romance recommendation, check her out of Twitter.

My review of P. S. I Like You

Have you read anything Kasie West books? PS is my favorite contemporary book by her with Pivot Point being my favorite of her none contemporary.

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New to You (10): April Reviews Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is April from Good Books and Good Wine. I have been suggesting books to April for the past few months (All in Pieces and I’ll Meet You There)  so I was really excited when she signed up. Truth be told I had some trouble deciding which one of my favorites I wanted her to read but I decided it had to be Twenty Boy Summer since it will forever and ever be a top favorite of mine! Let’s see what she had to say about Sarah Ockler’s book that was actually banned in some place(s)!

New to You (10): April Reviews Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah OcklerTwenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
on May 1, 2010
Amazon, Goodreads

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.""Okay.""Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?""Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Thank you so much, Andi, for hosting me on New To You. This is SUCH a cool feature, and honestly, I am glad you’re encouraging bloggers to read some awesome backlist books. I know that you’ve never lead me wrong when it comes to book recommendations!

The book Andi challenged me to read is none other than Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer. Friends, I have had this book on my Kindle since AUGUST freakin 2011. What even! I cannot believe I slept on this book so long and it took being nudged into by this feature to read this book. I’ll tell you why I bought it — it was one of the BIG books back in the heyday of book blogging. Every other blogger received a copy from this publicity group so it was ALL over. However, like every other reader, my eyes were bigger than my reading time? (Does that even work as a saying?)

H’okay. So. Twenty Boy Summer. This book took me three days to get through. Honestly, that’s not bad considering my life these days. Ockler’s book is a contemporary YA about a girl and her best friend and how they go away for the summer. LOL. No, it is a bit more deep than that. Okay, so, the girl is Anna Reilly. She’s basically neighbors with Frankie Perino who is also her best friend. Anna and Frankie are both grieving Frankie’s brother Matt who died really before the events of this book take place.

Anna, however, is hiding something from Frankie. DRAMA. Basically, Anna dated Matt on the low. Matt wanted to break the news to Frankie himself and make sure she could handle it. So, without this knowledge, Frankie decides this is the summer that she and Anna will hook up with twenty boys. It is the summer where Anna will lose her virginity aka her albatross.

So, Anna and Frankie, and the adult Perinos fly from New York to California to Zanzibar Bay. Bad life choices are made. There’s more drama. And well, okay during the flashbacks I found myself wondering where in Upstate NY they are from, because they mention being an hour from Cornell and Matt has a Syracuse Orange shirt. So a little piece of me likes to think they’re from Syracuse.

Anyways, I mostly enjoyed this book. I found myself getting very reactive though. You see, Frankie’s character just kept irritating me. AND THEN. She does something no good very bad. And well, it was hard for me to be loyal. I was Team Anna throughout the book. And well, Frankie is not a great friend to Anna. That’s all. I think there’s a lot of realism in this book.

Give Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler a read if you want a book that showcases first love, friendship, drama, and ultimately, forgiveness.

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Thanks April for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you trust my recommendations! Next I suggestion you read Second Chance Summer if you want to cry. 🙂

My review of Twenty Boy Summer.

Have you read anything by Sarah Ockler yet? I’m a massive fan of her books and of her (I got to meet her last year and it was the best!).

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New to You (9): Lindsi Reviews Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Lindsi from Do You Dog-ear?. When she signed up and said she had never read book two in the Lumatere Chronicles I knew what book I was giving her. As someone that almost didn’t read this book I just couldn’t let her get away with it. Let’s see what she had to say about my all time favorite literary character!

New to You (9): Lindsi Reviews Froi of the Exiles by Melina MarchettaFroi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) by Melina Marchetta
Published by Candlewick Press
on February 12, 2013
Amazon, Goodreads

From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

It has been years since I read the first book, Finnikin of the Rock, but I had no trouble falling back into the beautiful world Melina Marchetta created. It was like I had never left even though the story starts three years after the first one ended. A lot of sequels try to summarize the first book within the second, but that wasn’t the case here. Tidbits of information are dropped throughout, but they were gentle reminders that didn’t take away from the current story.

I don’t really remember how I felt about Froi from Finnikin of the Rock, but I absolutely loved him in this! He’s so devoted to Isaboe and the kingdom of Lumatere. He’s made a home for himself and would do anything to protect those he loves. However, he isn’t expecting to form new relationships when he leaves on a secret mission for his queen and king. He didn’t think anyone could matter to him as much, but he cannot help his feelings or how they develop.

There are not enough words to describe how magical and wonderful this world is. I cannot fathom how Melina Marchetta’s mind works, or how she created something so complex and completely captivating. This book is a beast… like 600 pages, but I never wanted to stop reading. The length of Froi of the Exiles is what kept me from starting this one for so long, and I want to thank Andi for giving me the push I needed to finally commit to reading it.

I like to think I’m pretty good at figuring things out in a book before they happen, but damn… I never knew what was coming, and I was often so surprised I had to re-read a few pages to make sure I really understood what was going on. There are so many things happening at once, and everyone has a secret (or five). It wasn’t until everyone started explaining themselves that a complete picture was formed.

This book also made me feel. They weren’t always good feelings either, because there are things that happen that make me want to be a very violent person. I don’t know how Froi was able to restrain himself at times, and I know his bond had to be strong to keep himself from lashing out and killing everyone. Quintana broke my heart, and what happens to her is cruel and despicable. Gah, I can’t even talk about this without getting worked up.

Quintana was a fascinating character that cannot be easily explained. She’s so much more than people think, and my heart repeatedly broke for her. Despite everything she has lived through, she still remains a fierce force to be reckoned with.

I love all the characters in this book, and it would be impossible for me to list each one and what I liked about them. We see various perspectives throughout the book (though mostly Froi’s), and it was wonderful to watch each of them as the story progresses. I’m so happy Marchetta included everyone from the first book, and that we get to see what’s happening in their lives, too.

Have I said enough? Maybe. Can I say enough? Definitely not. I could go on and on about everything I loved about this book, but I’ll simply ask that you read it for yourself. It’s something that needs to be experienced by you and not just talked about by me. Technically, you could skip Finnikin of the Rock and just read Froi of the Exiles, because they can stand on their own. However, I would recommend reading them both so you can stay in Marchetta’s incredibly enchanting world just a little bit longer.

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Thanks Lindsi for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy I was the push you needed to read this gem!

My review of Froi of the Exiles.

Have you read anything by Melina Marchetta yet?

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New to You (8): Wendy Reviews Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Wendy from Book Scents. After years of begging I finally got her to read my all time favorite book (I have read it at least 14 times), Anna and the French Kiss! I won’t lie, I was nervous assigning this book to someone. It’s hard to hear if someone doesn’t love a favorite, but I can happily report Wendy did not let me down, and Anna didn’t let her down either. Come check out her review and enter my giveaway for a copy!

New to You (8): Wendy Reviews Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins {+ a giveaway}Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Juvenile
on December 2, 2010
Amazon, Goodreads

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Anna and the French Kiss is one of those quintessential YA books that everyone seems to have read and everyone talks about! Except me! To be honest, I was worried that it would be too fluffy and I wanted to love it like everyone else! The fear of not loving it made me keep putting it off until my good friend Andi laid down an ultimatum on our friendship to have to read it. Just kidding!! I am so glad I finally read it though and I shouldn’t have worried about too much fluff at all!

Anna gets sent off to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year and she’s not happy about it. As she slowly makes friends though, she begins to fall in love with the city — not to mention a certain boy named Etienne. I have a terrible case of wanderlust and anytime I read books set in different locales, my wanderlust feelings flare. This was no exception! I absolutely loved seeing Paris through Anna’s eyes as she gradually goes out and explores the city and sights! She loves film and makes it a point to visit different theaters and I wanted to be there with her! And of course, how better to see a new city than with the swooniest boy at your side?

I LOVED Etienne so so much. I get it now, you guys! The British accent, that certain something that just grabs you from the first second you meet this boy! He is sweet, funny, caring– and has a girlfriend. This is that major something that tripped me up in this book. I couldn’t stand how long he was with that girl. She’s not actually IN the book a whole lot but I didn’t expect him to still be “with” her for the majority of the book! So that aspect kept hanging over me the whole time and I wish it wasn’t so!!

However, that aside, I really loved everything else. I liked how real the friendships Anna made at school felt. Sometimes in YA, certain aspects can seem below the age range but everything felt so authentic here. Anna’s thoughts and feelings were spot on for a teen senior. I really appreciated that! There is also depth in relationships, both familial and romantic, and much about finding yourself.

I really enjoyed this one so much! A combination of vicariously living abroad through Anna and a dreamy boy made for such a perfect YA contemporary. I can’t wait to read the rest of the companion books!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 30, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Wendy for signing up for New to You and finally listening to me about my favorite book!

My Anna and the French Kiss review.

Have you read Anna and the French Kiss yet?

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New to You (7): Kathleen Reviews Open Road Summer by Emery Lord {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Kathleen from Books, TV and More…Oh MY!. When I found out Kathleen hadn’t yet read an Emery book I knew what book I was going to have her take on. Everyone needs a little Matt Finch in their life, not to mention a strong female friendship that Emery does so well. I’m excited to see what she thought! (Make sure you check out the giveaway at the end!)

New to You (7): Kathleen Reviews Open Road Summer by Emery Lord {+ a giveaway}Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
on March 3, 2015
Amazon, Goodreads

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O'Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. Her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah's 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of healing hearts and break-up ballads.

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in this growing genre, Emery Lord's gorgeous debut hits all the right notes of contemporary romance.

I heard about Emery Lord a couple years ago and knew immediately that I wanted to read what she wrote. Since that time I’ve acquired all of her books, but haven’t read one yet. I know, what’s wrong with me?! Thankfully Andi decided to do her “New to You” feature and I jumped at the chance to participate. I gave her a few options of books that I owned that were on her list and after chatting with Gail, they both decided I needed some Matt Finch in my life. Spoiler: They were both right!

Open Road Summer was so beautifully written. I felt like I was physically there on the road with Reagan, Dee, & Matt all summer. While Dee and Matt are singing superstars, they are so down to earth. The first thing I thought of when Dee was described was Taylor Swift, which I’m sure Emery would approve of. Reagan, her best friend and MC of the story, is a strong and loyal. Her tough shell really resonated with me and I liked that she embraced her faults and past and learned from them. Matt is the boy next-door kind of guy. He’s sweet, kind, and honest. All three of the characters are relatable and I can see my friends and myself in each of them.

They all have their own struggles and I think the way they were revealed was very realistic. You feel as though you’re a part of their life and privy to such emotional information. I also think these struggles is what helped form the bond between Reagan and Matt. I liked that the roles were reversed in their case. Reagan was the bad girl and Matt was the good guy. I feel like there aren’t a lot of books that explore that and it was a refreshing change. They dynamic between them was electric at times and at others, you could feel the heartache. One of my favorite parts of the book was the songs Dee and Matt wrote. I feel that music unites everyone and you could feel the connection between Reagan, Dee, Matt, and Jimmy (Dee’s ex-boyfriend).

I absolutely loved this book and look forward to reading the rest of Emery’s books soon! Thanks again Andi for lighting the fire under me, and getting me to read Open Road Summer sooner rather than later.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 12, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Kathleen for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you enjoyed Open Road Summer. Matt Finch will always be one of my babies!

My Open Road Summer review.

Have you read Open Road Summer yet?

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