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.

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New to You (6): Alexa Reviews Free to Fall by Lauren Miller {+ 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 Alexa from Alexa Loves Books. I was really excited when Alexa stated she would really love to read Free to Fall. As a massive Lauren Miller fangirl, I find this book is totally underrated and I want more people to read it so to its relevance with technology (think Siri and Alexa, the Amazon one, not the real person). Come check out what Alexa had to say about one of my favorites! (Make sure you check out the giveaway at the end!)

New to You (6): Alexa Reviews Free to Fall by Lauren Miller {+ a giveaway}Free to Fall by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen
on May 12th 2015
Amazon, Goodreads

From the author of Parallel comes a high-stakes romantic puzzler set in a near-future where everyone's life is seamlessly orchestrated by personal electronic devices. Imaginative and thrilling, this fast-paced story with two starred reviews is not to be missed.

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision-making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is to follow what Lux recommends. When she's accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn't use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux's recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore—a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.

I’ll be completely honest and tell you all that I totally forgot what Free to Fall was about when I first started reading it. But I think that worked out in this story’s favor since I had no set expectations going into it (except the knowledge that it was one of Andi’s favorite reads)! It turns out that this one is a science fiction mystery set at a boarding school that is also a thoughtful commentary on technology and power… and it totally ended up being a story that worked for me overall. Aurora ‘Ror’ Vaughn is a girl who lives her life by Lux, an app that is set to make all the most beneficial and right decisions for its user. She winds up being accepted to Theden, an exclusive boarding school that promises only the best opportunities for its students after graduation from its prestigious program. But all is not as it seems, and Aurora soon discovers challenges – in the form of the education and staff, her peers, a townie boy who doesn’t use Lux, secrets that she uncovers and the inner voice in her mind that she’s always been encouraged to ignore.

I know, I know, this sounds like an awful lot to fit into a plot, but Miller does it well enough. She sets the mystery up beautifully, has a knack for pacing (except the first few chapters) and does well with grounding her story in the setting. I couldn’t stop reading this novel once I’d hit a certain point, and I’m fairly certain a lot of that has to do with how Miller wrote this story. Now, I really only had one reservation, and it’s more personal taste than anything else — I couldn’t find a way to personally connect with the characters, even though I liked them overall. That’s really the only reason I couldn’t rate it higher! However, Free to Fall was still entertaining and quick to read. If you’re looking for a plot-driven story that’s really fun to read, well, I’d definitely encourage you to check this one out.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 25, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Alexa for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you enjoyed Free to Fall. It’s been a long time since I read it. May be time for a reread!

My Free to Fall review

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New to You (5): Lillian Reviews The Program by Suzanne Young

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 Lillian from Mom with a Reading Problem. For a while now I have been planning a readalong for Suzanne Young’s series The Program. The final book in the series comes out in April (Spoiler alert…it’s AMAZING) and I wanted to bring this amazing series to everyone’s attention. When Lillian signed up and wanted to read The Program the timing was perfect. More info on the readalong will be posted on 3/16, but for now, check out Lillian’s review below and find out what she thought!

New to You (5): Lillian Reviews The Program by Suzanne YoungThe Program by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #1
Published by Simon Pulse
on April 30th 2013
Amazon, Goodreads

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Why?! Oh, why did it take me so long to pick up this book?!?! Thank you goes to Andi for putting it back on my radar and hosting this feature so I finally could get my hands on it. My heart hurts y’all! The Program by Suzanne Young is a YA dystopia that will leave you heart sick and hopeful all at the same time. I could not sit it down! The author took me through a range of emotions from euphoric to rock bottom depressed to hopeful and aching. Sloane’s journey in the book will rip your heart out and tear it to shreds….you know, in a good way 😉

The Program is set in a not too distant future where an epidemic is rising among the teens of the world. The epidemic: suicide. Suicide in itself is a touchy subject, but I found when placed in a dystopian society such as this one, it is downright horrific. Suzanne Young does a beautiful job of describing not only the depression that brings someone to the brink of ending their own life but also the heartache for the loved ones left behind. This book needs a big warning label on it: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. Seriously y’all, I cried my eyes out, and when I thought I couldn’t possibly have any tears left, I cried some more.

The teens in this story live their lives in fear. They are not allowed to show any emotion outside of being happy. Why? Because the Program will take you if you show ANY signs of depression (crying, anger, etc.) to prevent the epidemic from spreading. The Program is meant to save your life, prevent you from committing suicide and succumbing to the epidemic. But the “returners,” those who have completed the program, are not what you would expect. Think Stepford wives. These returners have been wiped clean so to speak, having little memory of life before the Program.

And this is how the story begins, with Sloane and her boyfriend James and best friend Miller. Sloane is an average 17 year old girl, at least her thoughts appear that way. Yet she lives in fear of being taken by the Program. Her brother is dead, having committed suicide previously and her home life is less than stellar. She isn’t permitted to show her grief to anyone except James. James is her rock and the only person who truly knows her. When Lacey, her childhood best friend is returned blank, it sets in motion a downward spiral for Sloane, James, and Miller that can only be described as heart-wrenching.

The plot revolves around Sloane and her downward spiral. As I’ve already mentioned, the author’s ability to pull the reader into Sloane’s depression, her resistance to the Program, and her feelings toward the people in her life is astounding. I felt what Sloane felt. I ached for her and James. I cried for all she lost and gained. The intricacies of the Program are interesting and slowly revealed as Sloane experiences them. I found myself intrigued and wanting to know more immediately about this secretive cure for the epidemic the teens faced.

I fell in love with The Program! I loved Sloane and James, Realm (who is introduced later in the story) and the dystopian world. And the epilogue….mind blown! I’ve already purchased book two The Treatment and hope to start it soon. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of YA dystopia. It doesn’t disappoint!

About Lillian @ Mom with a Reading Problem

I’m a thirty-something Southern girl, currently living in the mountains of East TN. I started blogging in 2014 on a dare from my husband after I became a stay-at-home mama to our little man and haven’t looked back. When I’m not blogging or reading, I’m a superhero or a Jedi and sometimes I’m just Mom.

Website: http://www.momwithareadingproblem.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/momwithareadingproblem
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lillian_mccurry
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mom_with_a_reading_problem
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lmccurry286

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Thanks Lillian for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you loved The Program. I hope you stop by and join the readalong for The Program!

Have you started The Program series? If so how many have you read? Will you be joining my readalong?

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New to You (4): Sarah Reviews Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer {+ 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 Sarah from What Sarah Read. I was really excited she signed up and wanted to read Letters to the Lost. You will see in her review that Gail and I have been telling her to read it for a long time. Check out her review below and find out! (Make sure you check out the giveaway at the end!)

New to You (4): Sarah Reviews Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer {+ a giveaway}Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on April 4th 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

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.

About a year or so ago I started hearing some buzz about an upcoming new release called “Letters to the Lost” and I was immediately intrigued. More specifically, Andi and Gail were raving about the book and how amazing it was (they both read it in one day), so I KNEW I had to add it to my TBR shelf. I added my copy to the pile of books on my nightstand and it just sat there…and sat there…and sat there. For almost a year. Even after I continued to hear amazing things about it from many other friends, I never got around to grabbing it off the shelf to actually read it. I look back at all those months I wasted and wonder why I was such a fool. How could I have waiting SO long to read such an amazing book? I will be eternally grateful to Andi for hosting this feature and finally giving me that push to read “Letters to the Lost”.

I absolutely loved the dynamic between the main characters, Juliet and Declan. The good girl and the bad boy trope is in full effect, but in a totally unique and refreshing way. These two get to know each other before they even meet each other and I absolutely loved how the relationship between them unfolds with plenty of twists, turns and bumps along the way. The chemistry that Juliet and Declan have is undeniable and I couldn’t get enough of the letters they shared back and forth. Their relationship was messy, complicated and not at all your standard boy meets girl love story. They were perfectly imperfect. For all the differences between them, the letters they wrote showed that they had more in common then they ever could have imagined. They bonded over their grief and their feelings of isolation, and even without ever meeting, they confided their deepest emotions in each other. The feels are SO STRONG in this book and I loved every minute of it.

All that being said, I think the thing I loved the most about this book was how the author refused to fall back on labels and assumptions, and instead challenged them. In ways both obvious and those more subtle, Kemmerer shows us that you can never really know what is going on in someone’s life and that you shouldn’t always jump to conclusions. “Letters to the Lost” has some shocking secrets and twists I never saw coming and I was completely invested in the story. Give me a book about friendship, emotions, family dynamics, self-discovery and, yes, falling in love…and I’m a very happy reader. This one had it all!

Oh, and I know this review is supposed to be about “Letters to the Lost”, but I can’t end my obsessive fangirling without mentioning the companion novel coming out next month, “More Than We Can Tell”. It’s technically not a sequel but does take place in the same “universe” and features one of my favorite characters from Letters, Declan’s best friend Rev. As hard as it may be to believe, I actually loved it more than Letters…and that is saying a LOT! It’s even more heart-breaking and complicated and I cried my eyes out several times. If that’s not a reason to pre-order I don’t know what is.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 3, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Sarah for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you loved Letters to the Lost AND More Than We Can Tell. Really such a fantastic companion series!

Have you read Letters to the Lost yet? If so what about the companion?

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New to You (3): Kelsey Reviews The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash {+ 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 Kelsey. She was the one that started this whole thing when she read and reviewed Parallel so it was only fitting she came back. When she selected her books I thought The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash would work for her. Check out her review below and find out! (Make sure you check out the giveaway at the end!)

New to You (3): Kelsey Reviews The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash {+ a giveaway}The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
on June 14th 2016
Amazon, Goodreads

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Archie and Veronica. Althena and Noth.…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxy, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

Andi and I have always had very similar tastes in books, and I always turn to her for some recs when I need them. So, when she started this feature I was so excited, because I knew there were books on there she has been telling/yelling at me to read (I actually have an ‘Andi Told Me To Read This’ shelf on Goodreads). Out of the few I chose, her final choice for me was The Geeks Guide To Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash, and as always, it was a great choice indeed!

The setting and overall theme for this book is one that I have not come across too often yet in my reading: hardcore fandoms and New York Comic Con, and I loved it! I think as a reader I can totally appreciate the characters enthusiasm for their favorite author Robert Zinc and his series The Althena Chronicles as I do with book series and characters that I love (ahem, finding a book signing last minute in NYC and making my mother run 2 miles with me to meet Morgan Matson. Worth it.). Comic Con has always been something my husband and I have wanted to attend, and now I REALLY NEED TO GO.  Hearing the descriptions of the convention center, the cosplay they saw, the exhibits, and just the overall energy has just heightened that want and definitely boosted it up on my “things to do” list. I think I even picked up on some good advice – i.e. have a plan! Have a schedule! People are crazy!

I want to be friends with these characters in real life. Graham just seems like the real deal to me – thoughtful, nerdy, creative. He wants to tell his best friend, Roxy, that he has feelings for her, and he wants to do it in a fashion worthy of a book or a movie. He plans an elaborate couple of days at NYCC centered around everything she loves, and while they are there he would find the perfect time to tell her his feelings. He gives it his all, but well, life throws one curveball after another at him (as it so often does).

I know Andi said something similar in her blog, but this book is just SO REAL and so authentic. Real situations with real outcomes that honestly aren’t always ideal. Things didn’t go as planned, ideas didn’t work, and timing didn’t always work. BUT its how life kept moving and going on as it would for anyone of us, and sometimes things just work out they way that they should in the end. Between this setting and this fun group of friends (and new friends) this book was an easy thumbs up from me! Can I have a sequel about Casey or Felicia now?? *grabby hands*

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 16, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Kelsey for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you loved it. And I’m thrilled I have a special shelf on your Goodreads!

Here’s my review of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love.

Have any of you read anything by Sarvenaz Tash?

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