Top Ten Tuesday – Andi’s Must Reads

Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is on hiatus for a couple more weeks but I couldn’t get this idea out of my head so I’m going with it. I know it’s true that we, as book nerds, have a hard time picking our favorite books. Honestly I could probably tell you 50 books I want you to read. But there will always be those books that you just want everyone to read. There are just those books that you want to read over and over again yourself. Since I’m itching to actually read one of those special to me books, I thought I would tell you 10 books I think you need to read:

 

Anna and the French Kiss

Twenty Boy Summer

Parallel

All in Pieces

Letters to the Lost

The Lumatere Chronicles

I’ll Meet You There

Open Road Summer

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

All Our Yesterdays

I’m sure you are wondering why these 10 books out of all 117 favorites on my Goodread shelf. It’s a good question. Like I said I could have given you a ton more. But these 10 are special to me in some way I can’t 100% explain. There is a magic in these books that just speaks to me and I think it will speak to you too.

What are some of your must reads? Have you read any of mine?

*If you haven’t read any of these books and would like to for my new feature New to You where you read and review the book on my blog, please contact me.

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On My Radar – More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (14)

If you couldn’t tell by lack of blog posts I was on staycation last week and I decided to put my blog on vacation for the week too. It was a nice break to just sit back and not have to do anything. I had hoped to get some reading done but I’m not going to lie, it didn’t really happen. I started 2 books and DNFed one and have only read 25% of another. I had big plans for reading but instead I met up with friends and watched a lot of Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares. What’s a kid to do.

There was one other book though that I did read and I read it in a 5 hour time span. I honestly don’t think I have ever read a book that quickly so it was definitely a first for me. But once I started on it I couldn’t stop. It broke my heart in a million ways and I cried a lot reading it but it was one of the best books I have read in a while. Sadly this book isn’t out until March but I want it to be on your radar and I want it to be on it now. What book is it you ask?

On My Radar – More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (14)More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury Children's
on March 6th 2018
Amazon, Goodreads

From the author of Letters to the Lost comes a heart-wrenching story of two teens with big secrets and a love that could set them free.

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 have had the privileges of reading both Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer this year and they have both blown me away. They are both such emotionally uplifting books that will hurt but in the best of ways. I HIGHLY recommend reading this companion couple. I don’t think you will be sorry.

Have you read Letters to the Lost?

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New to You (1): Kelsey Reviews Parallel by Lauren Miller {+ a giveaway}

As you may have heard (or read) I love a good reread. I read some of my favorite books pretty often. But what I don’t do it write a new review for them. I review them after I read it for the first time and then that is it for my review. Sometimes I think I want to write a new one, but there is nothing more powerful then the words you use after your first time finishing a book.

I was thinking about this when I finished my 3rd read of Lauren Miller’s Parallel. I wanted a new review but I didn’t want to write a new one since I loved my old one. Then it hit me, have a friend that hasn’t read it read and review it. Brilliant!

Welcome to New to You.

New to You is a new feature where I will have people, that are interested, read my favorite books they haven’t yet read. So you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss or Twenty Boy Summer or What Happens Next? Well now is your chance to do so and review it on my blog. If you are interested in taking part of this feature feel free to contact me on Twitter, email, Instagram DM, Facebook…you get the gist. If you know how to find me, find me. And if you don’t I may just come after you and ask if you would be interested. 🙂

First up on New to You we have Kelsey. She’ll be reviewing Parallel by Lauren Miller and I’m really excited for you guys to see what she thought. (Scroll to the end for a giveaway).

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New to You (1): Kelsey Reviews Parallel by Lauren Miller {+ a giveaway}Parallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen
on April 8th 2014
Amazon, Goodreads

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

Andi has always been one of my friends I turn to when I need a good book recommendation. I don’t think I’ve come across one that she told me to read that I didn’t love. It has got to the point where I made an entire Goodreads shelf dedicated to books Andi wants (i.e. needs/forces/yells) at me to read. One of these chosen books was Parallel by Lauren Miller. Now, I don’t usually read these kinds of time travel, multi-universe type books, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. But alas, I read this beauty in one day and, as always, Andi didn’t disappoint.

The book starts with the main character Abby filming a movie in LA and celebrating her 18th birthday, but you can tell she feels out of place, and that this life isn’t the dream that she had for herself. She wanted to go to Northwestern to be a journalist. That was it. She was set on it. Journalist or bust. But on her first day of senior year she had to make a last minute change to her schedule (that she spent forever getting just right so she would have THE PERFECT schedule and GPA to get into Northwestern – being a perfectionist myself I understand that frustration). She was to choose between an Astronomy Class and a Drama Class and went with the latter option. Flash forward and that decision has plunked her right in LA filming a movie.

The morning after her 18th birthday Abby wakes up and she doesn’t know where she is. Now, if that we’re me I would probably pass out after having a panic attack, but she figures out that she is at Yale, in her dorm room, that she shares with her college roommate. Wait, what? This is where I had to try to keep everything straight between Abby’s parallel worlds. She has to figure out what memories and choices led her here, at Yale – not LA, not Northwestern.

Luckily for Abby, her best friend, Caitlin, is also going to school at Yale. She explains what she thinks is happening between parallel worlds (let me tell you what thought would never cross my mind). The one thing I found a little crazy, was how calm, rational and completely understanding Caitlin was of this theory. I would probably want to have my friends head examined, but that’s just me. However, Caitlin becomes her lifeline in helping Abby piece together her past, her choices, and navigate through what is happening in this current life.

And the boys – Josh & Michael. Oh the boys.  There was definitely one I was rooting for throughout, but I enjoyed how they both played into her parallel worlds and how connected they really were. I usually always prefer books that have a romantic story line involved. While there was this love triangle of sorts, the relationships didn’t get super involved, and with all the thought I had to put into this book to keep it straight, I was more than okay with that. Just the right amount of romance.

This book was one I really couldn’t set down, because I just wanted to know how it all played out in the end. I definitely had to pay attention or else I would confuse myself, but I think that’s what made it so fun. It also really makes you think about the choices you make and how everything can be affected by them. (It also sent me into an internet black hole on parallel universe theories).

Thank you, Andi, as always for a great book rec!

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Thanks Kelsey for having Parallel be New to You!

US ONLY. Ends 7/23/17 12:00am.

 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Parallel Moments

When I was reading Parallel by Lauren Miller for the 3rd time I started thinking about other books and moments in them that could have lead to a parallel time line. Not always the big moments, but smaller things that could have changed the whole book if the character made a different decision. I mean I understand that decisions were made to further the plot, but what about those decisions that weren’t made? What would have happened if there was a different outcome?

This idea lead me to contacting some people that I know loved Parallel when they read it and I asked them to come up with a book where they think things could have turned the story around drastically. Lauren (Bookmark Lit), Ashley (Nose Graze), Jaime ( Fiction Fare) and myself have all picked books and moments in each book where we think things could have changed if something different happened. I am warning you, SPOILERS MAY BE INCLUDED in from each book so tread carefully!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lauren: THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This is such a fun prompt! The only bad thing is my bookish memory. For the life of me, this is the only book I could come up with. Heads up to people who haven’t read it yet – there are some fairly big spoilers from here on out. The premise of this story is that Tim starts falling for Alice… right when he learns that he apparently has fathered a child. This girl that he doesn’t remember comes out of nowhere with a baby and basically says “surprise!” From the beginning, I thought this was sketchy. I don’t see the point in writing a book if the entire premise can be washed away with ONE simple conversation… or in this case, paternity test. Throughout the story, Tim automatically assumes the child is his because of his features (cleft chin, red hair). It’s a fairly safe guess because they do look the same… but still. I always wonder what could have happened in the rest of the book if Tim just took a paternity test early on, instead of growing attached to the child. I can see why Fitzpatrick included that plotline for the book because Tim had A LOT of growing up to do. But, if he had just taken the test, maybe she could have moved the story in a different direction.

In reality I see that sometimes this is how things go and knowing Tim this is why he would just act without thinking it through first.

Ashley: The Winter King by C.L. Wilson

I’ve decided to go with The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. At the beginning, Khamsin’s brother Falcon goes to Wintercraig to “negotiate treaties” with the king, Wynter. This trip ends up setting the stage for the whole novel because Falcon ends up running away with the king’s betrothed, murdering the king’s brother, and stealing an important book from their kingdom. The story that follows is the revenge over that act.

Khamsin wasn’t given the chance to go with him, but I wonder what would have happened if she had. If she’d gone with him, there would be two possibilities: either she knew about the plot to steal the book or she didn’t. But let’s say she did. Stealing the book was the least of the king’s rage; he mostly took his revenge over the death of his brother and heir, and running away with his betrothed. If Khamsin knew about Falcon’s goal to steal the book, I bet she would have at least tried to talk Falcon down from the awful things that came as a result of stealing it. Maybe she could have convinced him to not take the king’s betrothed. Maybe she could have helped him come up with a better idea other than using murder as a distraction to cover his theft. Maybe that would have spared the king’s brother’s life. Sure, Wynter may still have been pissed, but I don’t think his reaction would have been as strong as it was otherwise.

Had the king’s brother not died and his betrothed not run away with Falcon, the huge war may never have happened. Khamsin may not have been forced to marry Wynter to help end the war. Khamsin may have lived out the rest of her days in Summerlea. Although, despite saving the kingdom from war, I imagine Khamsin would have enjoyed this alternate life a lot less than the one she actually got in The Winter King!

 Jaime: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

I’m not going to lie… part of me just wanted to use The Kiss of Deception for this feature and say that instead of taking off right before her arranged wedding, she simply stayed and got married, but … well I think that we might not have had that amazing story if that was the case.

So instead, I turned to one of my favorite books The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett.  This book you guys… it’s beautifully written with unique characters and so much banter and swoon! But as I was rereading this, I realized that there are quite a few moments where our main character Bex has to make a choice about something that could totally have changed the outcome of the whole story! Instead of going to see Willy and asking about Jack does she go straight home… Instead of finding him at the Zen Center does she decide to forget about him and move on?  These are all things that could have definitely changed the outcome of this story, but I decided to go with something I think that had a bit of a smaller part of the story but a much bigger impact. At one point, Bex turns to her brother Heath for some advice and in doing so she had to explain what Jack was doing and who he was.  That one choice has a profound impact on the last third of this story for so many reasons because it causes Jack to admit some things to his parents, it causes a rift between Bex and her mom, and it causes Bex to focus on a different aspect of her scholarship project.

Had Bex not divulged the information to Heath, so many things may have happened differently.  Sure, Jack and Bex may not have had to contend with angry parents, the threat of separation or a slight rift in their growing relationship… but I also think that Bex wouldn’t have had the opportunity to mend the relationship with her father or expand her art in a way that impacts as many people as it does when all is said and done.  So they would have had fewer bumps along the way, but Bex would be struggling to make college a possibility, Jack would have the things he had done still hanging over his head and they would still be dealing with family issues that were causing so much stress in their lives.

I definitely like the way Bennett wrote it instead!

Andi: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

There is a moment in Anna and the French Kiss where I think things could have changed drastically for Anna and St. Clair. They are in a weird place right before Christmas break. They are being super snippy and awkward with one another. So much so that their friends comment on it. Trying to be better they realize they are on the same flight from Paris to Georgia so they decide they will travel to the airport together. When St. Clair knocks on Anna’s door there is no answer and he thinks she has left. In fact she has overslept and wakes up with his knock and they scramble to get to their flight on time.

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Anna never heard St. Clair knock and she never made that flight. They were in such a weird place and that flight changed everything between them in a way I can’t really say (you have to read to find out). It was a minor point that was pivotal for their friendship and if it never happened they way it did, where would they be? Would they have gotten back on track when they got back to school or would things still be strained and awkward? I tend to believe it would have been okay, but you never know in a parallel world.

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Like the quote in Parallel says:

Your path will change. Your destiny doesn’t.

A huge thanks to Lauren, Ashley and Jaime for helping me out. This post was a lot of fun.

Do you guys have any moments you can think of in a book that could alter a characters path but not their destiny?

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Review Rewind: Parallel – Lauren Miller

In a little under 4 weeks one of my favorite authors, Lauren Miller, has a new book coming out. It’s been over 3 years since she released a new book and I have been excited for it ever since (spoiler alert: It was AMAZING). Since it has been a long time since we had a fantastic Miller book to gush about I’m taking the opportunity to share some fun Lauren Miller posts about her first two books, which I LOVED, Parallel and Free to Fall.

These next three days I am devouting to Parallel and July 26, 27 and 28 will be devouted to Free to Fall. There will also be giveaways at the end of each week for each of the books. Make sure you stop by and see why I love these books so much and hear from some other readers as well.

Sometimes you just love a book so much you feel the need to repost the review and that is what is happening here. I first read Parallel in March of 2013 and it was originally reviewed on my blog on May 2013. Since then I have read the book 2 more times and I’m still in love with it. These are my original thoughts on the book and truth…the all hold strong.

In my recent read I did discover a quote that I think describes the book perfectly:

Your path will change. Your destiny doesn’t.

Now, here’s my review.

Review Rewind: Parallel – Lauren MillerParallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen
on May 14th 2013
Amazon, Goodreads

Your plan changes. Your destiny doesn't.

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.


I kept hearing how amazing this book was so when a friend got an advanced copy and sent it to me I was siked! Jumping in I didn’t really know what to expect. Was it paranormal? Was it a contemporary? Would it be too much science and universe talk? The more I read the more I realized that it didn’t matter what category it fell into. It didn’t matter if there was science talk and if the concept seemed out there on the surface. All that mattered was how fantastic this book was and how it got me thinking. You see I have always been a fan of what I call ‘The Sliding Doors Effect'(after the movie which this book reminded me of) where one small choice/decision/incident can completely alter the life you live. That by taking a taxi two feet instead of walking in the rain can change how things play out. One small thing that you don’t even realize has happened can make a huge effect on everything, and Miller played that effect to perfection, hitting on everything I have ever thought about it. My thoughts are going to be hard to get down on paper as I don’t want to give anything away in regards to the story, but I will try.

Parallel is the story of Abby, a girl with a plan. She has known exactly what she was supposed to do her whole life. She was going to be a journalist after graduating from Northwestern and get a job at a huge newspaper. It was her plan, her calling, her goal. And then drama class happened and suddenly Abby was living in LA filming a movie and missing out on everything she dreamed. Resigned to her new life, but not necessarily happy about it, Abby celebrates the eve of her 18th birthday with her cast mates, but the next morning she wakes up in a Yale dorm with a completely different life like her past had been rewritten and she doesn’t remember anything. Stuck in this new life with memories of her old life, Abby has to navigate the constant changes and surprises and learn that sometimes life gets in the way of plans.

Did I mention that this book was fantastic? I mean really really really fantastic. Miller wrote this book in a pretty genius way that kept the story fresh and interesting. Knowing the background of Abby’s life and seeing the small changes that lead to her parallel life and everything different about it was done amazingly well. As you got further into the book and Abby started to remember more of her “life” it was easier as a reader to see the moment that changed things and created the situations Abby found herself it. With every turn of the page I felt like I was reading a new kind of book and I liked that.

I found Abby to be such a likable character as was her friend Caitlin. Watching them both navigate through the confusion that was Abby’s life was truly a joy given the fact that Abby had no idea what was going to happen to her on any given day. And watching as Josh, who I totally swooned over, was folded into the story was awesome. For a character that played such a minor role in the book, he was huge to the story, but in a way that you don’t really understand until you are a good chunk into the book. His presence and lack of, is one of the most important parts of the story and I loved how Miller dealt with that. It wasn’t in your face but on the surface and it worked for this story.

Honestly I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this debut novel by Lauren Miller. It touched on everything I love about a good story and kept you thinking the whole time. So much can change the outcome of your life but lead you right where you belong even if it is the last place you expect. Just because that butterfly flaps its wings in New York doesn’t mean the rain will never stop in China. You just might have to take the long way to get there. I can say without a doubt Lauren Miller has just become one of those authors that “if she writes it, I’m buying it”. Thanks Ms. Miller for awesomeness

Side note:
I’m not a usual book trailer kind of girl. But I watched the official trailer for Parallel and it is awesome! Just thought I would share it with all of you too.

 

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