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
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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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To Be Reviewed (1)

Like any blogger I have a mountain long list of books that I have loved and have yet to review. Some of these books I read last year which means I need a reread before I write my review because we all know there is no way I remember the things I need to remember. Everyday I look at this list and think I should just write some of them and then I get overwhelmed by the number and decide to read a new book. Currently my list has about 15-17 books on it which in hindsight isn’t that bad considering, but it still stresses me out.

Honestly it is the series and the 5 star reads that give me the most trouble. I just never know what to say about a series that won’t spoil the other books and for the 5 star standalones I just have no words to describe perfect a lot of the time.

Anyway, here are 6 of my top books I have yet to reviewed that were some of my favorites:

To Be Reviewed (1)A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on May 2nd 2017
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A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

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To Be Reviewed (1)Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on April 4th 2017
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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.

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To Be Reviewed (1)When We Collided by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on May 16th 2017
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Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she's told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels' household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it's not long before Vivi's zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah's love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn't enough?

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To Be Reviewed (1)The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens
Published by HarperTeen
on November 3rd 2015
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Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.

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To Be Reviewed (1)Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books
on September 6th 2016
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KINGDOMS WILL COLLIDE.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

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To Be Reviewed (1)The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
on April 5th 2016
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Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

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How do you manage to keep you book review numbers down? How long is your To Be Reviewed list? Talk to me!

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TBR: Recently Added (2)

A lot of good books have been brought to my attention and like any good book nerd I have added them to my TBR. I mean let’s be honest, we all want to keep our TBR down to a minimum, but in this reading world it is almost impossible to do. I have learned to embrace it and just go with it. Here are 6 books I have recently added to my TBR from direct suggestions or tweets that I happened to catch:

TBR: Recently Added (2)The Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #1) by Katherine Locke
Published by Albert Whitman Company
on September 1st 2017
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When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Published by Flatiron Books
on January 30th 2018
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Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1) by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Published by Harlequin Teen
on August 29th 2017
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In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford.

But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speechrather than say anything at allshe closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back, #1) by A.V. Geiger
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
on June 6th 2017
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Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…


Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on April 4th 2017
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In a thrilling fantasy that’s equal parts Prison Break and Frozen, Valor attempts the impossible—breaking her sister out of prison.

When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn't count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

This fresh and exciting middle-grade debut effortlessly melds an unforgettable protagonist, a breathless plot, and stunning world-building—and is impossible to put down.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse
on April 3rd 2018
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In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

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What have you recently added to your TBR? Have you read any of these?

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Review: The Names They Gave Us – Emery Lord

Review: The Names They Gave Us – Emery LordThe Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on May 16th 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters-in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend "pauses" their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp-one for troubled kids-Lucy isn't sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord's storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life's biggest challenges.

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.

Sometimes you read a book and you just don’t even know what to say about it. It is pretty much perfect in all the ways that surprise you yet don’t surprise you at all. It will make you feel things as you read, make you cry, make you laugh, make you swoon. That is what The Names They Gave Us did to me. In typically Emery Lord fashion I was blown away by this book’s beauty and realness.

I’m not really sure how to describe what I felt and loved about this book. First and foremost I feel like I should say that this is what you would call a “cancer book” or even a “religion book”. Sure those are huge parts of Lucy’s story, parts of who Lucy is, but I don’t think those are the two things that end up defining her. What ends up defining Lucy is Lucy. She decides to open her mind and heart to new experiences and to new people. And Lucy decides it is okay to not trust in her faith, to be angry at the hand she has been dealt. To me that is really what The Names They Gave Us is all about, finding out who you are and want to be and being okay with it. Don’t get me wrong, Lucy’s mother having cancer is a major part of this story and truly broke my heart for Lucy, but that is just the beginning of her story. With the help of a new camp, new friends and a boy to mend her broken heart a new, stronger Lucy is born and that is the heart of the whole story. Well that and the friends Lucy makes

Lucy’s friends at the new camp are truly amazing and inspiring. They are all dealing with something whether it is anxiety or illness or abuse. They all have some kind of baggage but they also don’t carry that baggage alone. They let each other help and they rely on one another for support. It is the definition of a true friendship. And they willing, okay, some more than others, take Lucy into their fold which is something she needed desperately without even knowing it.  And this isn’t even talking about the beauty that is Henry and what he adds to the change in Lucy. Gah. I’m smiling just thinking about Lucy and Henry.

Truth, I’m not convinced Emery Lord is human. Okay well I know she is because I have met her, but still. The Names They Gave Us is Emery’s 4th book (I’ve been a massive fan since Open Road Summer) and her 4th book to completely blow me away. Every time I read a book by her I think her next one can’t be better and then I read the next one. It’s unfathomable yet she manages to do it every time. There is something just so magical about her books. I swear if you are not a fan yet you will be as soon as you read something with her name on it. Make sure you add The Names They Gave Us to your TBR.

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Book a Date with Me…AGAIN

Welcome to the newest feature on Andi’s ABCs, Book a Date, a post about something you are excited for that is releasing in the future. It can be a TV show, a movie (in the theater or out on DVD), a clothing line, a video game, a graphic novel, and of course a book. Actually it can be anything you want.  If you would like more information or would like to sign-up you can click HERE.

Who booked a date this week? Well this week you get me. There was a problem with the person scheduled to go so I had to do one on the fly.

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The last time I booked a date, a measly 2 weeks ago I think, I talked about my trip to NYC for BookCon weekend. What am I booking a date for this time?

Book a Date with Me…AGAINA Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on May 2nd 2017
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Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

It is finally almost here! Tuesday, May 2nd, the day when I will be dodging Goodreads and my Twitter feed and all things that have the potential to spoil me on my loves Feyre and Rhysand! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this book. I mean the A Court of Thorns and Roses series may be one of my all time favorite series ever! It is so much in fact a favorite that I am reading A Court of Mist and Fury for the 2nd time…THIS YEAR. Yup, reading a 629 page book two times in one year and all before May. I just can;t get enough. I have the Kindle copy preordered and a hardcover preordered. I’ll be getting the audio when it is available, and I will be getting another copy signed when I get to co-moderate Sarah Maas’ signing when she is in MA on May 10th.

Yup, you read that right, I’m co-moderating, with Sarah from What Sarah Read, Sarah’s signing when she comes to the Burlington, MA Barnes and Noble. This will be my second time moderating for Sarah Maas and let me tell you I am even more of a fan girl now so this shall be interesting.

All I know is I’m booking my date for May 2nd and A Court of Wings and Ruin and you should too!

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