Review: Emmy and Oliver – Robin Benway

Review: Emmy and Oliver – Robin BenwayEmmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Published by HarperCollins
Published: June 23rd 2015
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four-half-stars

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. . . . She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. . . . He'd thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who had kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing, and his thoughts swirling.Readers who love Sarah Dessen will devour these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver's father's crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

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.

Review

I have been meaning to read a book by Robin Benway for a long time. Everyone gushes about the other books she has written but I have just never gotten to them. So when I had finished a book and needed to pick a new one the cover of Emmy and Oliver popped in my head. Best idea I have had in a long long time. I love this book, like a lot. And it really made me think about the people in the story and how I would feel if I were one or any of them.

Emmy & Oliver is the emotional story of Emmy and Oliver. When they were 7 years old their worlds were torn apart because Oliver was kidnapped by his father and missing for 10 years. The two of them went from being best friends and seeing each other every day to nothing. And then when they are 17 Oliver is all of a sudden back and Emmy, Oliver and everyone that has been missing him for a decade have no idea how to deal with it.

The beauty of Emmy & Oliver was actually something pretty simple. It was the human aspect to it. It was the fact that the story was real and possible. It was the truth factor. Because let’s be honest, this stuff happens. Parents get divorced and it is nasty and one takes the child who is the one that suffers. What Benway did with Emmy & Oliver was show the struggle and the human part of a familial kidnapping. It wasn’t glamorized for Hollywood or sensationalized for the media. It was a story of struggle and what is right and what is okay to feel. It is about getting back your life but still wanting to hold on to the old life you had even if it wasn’t what you thought it was or was supposed to be. That’s what I loved about this book.

As a child of divorce I thought about how my mom would have felt if I were Oliver. How I would have felt if I were Oliver. He was in a tough spot. He wasn’t mistreated, he was with someone he loved and who loved him. He was told stories that weren’t true but he believed to be. And then in an instant it all changed and he was left trying to figure out what was true and what was okay to feel. Then I thought about how I would feel if I were Emmy and all of a sudden my best friend was back. If I had built a life around the idea that I would never see him again to only have him show up. Basically I was invested and that is a testament to how Benway told the story and the characters she had tell the story.

Emmy & Oliver is such an emotional story of two teens finding their way back to each other and a way to be on their own. Oliver’s return causes changes in both of their lives that they have to figure out how to navigate. The story is about moving on when you don’t want to or are afraid too and it is told in a flawless manner. It is a book I will highly recommend and a book I will gladly have on my shelf. Pick this one up, but have some tissues handy for the feels.

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Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend – Kasie West

I’m attempting to switch up my review style. Welcome to my first attempt at My ABCs of the Book. Let me know what you think about it and if you would change anything. I’m trying to keep it fresh as writing reviews can get stale if you don’t try something new.

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend – Kasie WestThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperCollins
Published: May 5th 2015
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four-stars

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

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.

Review

One sitting. That’s how long it took me to read The Fill-In Boyfriend. Once I started it I couldn’t bring myself to stop. It was quintessentially Kasie West. It was light and fun, but also had a depth to it.

The Fill-in Boyfriend has the feel of a great teen movie. It kind of falls into line with films like Drive Me Crazy, Whatever it Takes and She’s All That. It’s the story of Gia, a high schooler that is dumped by her college aged boyfriend in the parking lot of her prom. Trying to save face Gia finds a random boy in the parking lot just reading a book. She convinces him to pose as her now ex-boyfriend. However when the night ends things grow more complicated than Gia and the fill-in ever imagined. Instead of saving face Gia may have made things worse between her and her friends and she may just be falling for the boy that was only supposed to be around temporarily.

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I love this kind of story a lot. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good teen movie. Everything in this plot flowed nicely too which is why it was easy to read in one sitting. There wasn’t one point that I was bored or wanted the skip ahead because nothing was happening. The plot/action was well developed and well executed in a Kasie West kind of way.

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I love all the places this book used as a setting. It had a very easy laidback feel. An ice cream shop, the car on a road trip, a back yard graduation party; it all added to the vibe of the book which to me was a perfect summer read. Each place played an import role in telling Gia’s story and made the book easy to follow along with and to help get you attached to the characters.

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The characters are what made this book for me. Gia was such a typical, insecure high school girl that thought a lot about what her friends think of her (which let’s face it, we all did and still do). Having her meet the “fill-in” and get to know him and his family and his friends really helped her grow as a person. Plus “fill-in”…adorable! He brought out a really good side of Gia, a side that wasn’t obsessed with appearances. And she brought out a good side of him too. Plus his sister was awesome. I will say I didn’t like Gia’s brother or some of her friends, but it wasn’t so much that it took away from the story.

finalKasie West has done it again. She took a story that has been told and made it fun and entertaining. She wrote a book with a smart story, excellent setting and the right characters. Everything just fit into place and kind of clicked which is a testament to Kasie’s writing. I definitely recommend this one. I mean after all, I haven’t met a Kasie West book I haven’t loved.

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Blog Tour: Proof of Forever – Lexa Hillyer (Giveaway)

Blog Tour: Proof of Forever - Lexa Hillyer (Giveaway)

Blog Tour: Proof of Forever – Lexa Hillyer (Giveaway)Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Published by HarperCollins
Published: June 2nd 2015
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From debut author and poet Lexa Hillyer comes the lyrical story of four seventeen-year-old friends who receive an unlikely chance to relive the perfect summer . . . and the devastating secret that could unravel it all. Elegant and evocative, Proof of Forever is one of those first novels that hooks you from the beginning and builds toward a stunning—and unexpected—end, calling to mind Gayle Forman and Ann Brashares.

Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe were once best friends. Now they barely speak. That is, until the fateful flash of a photo-booth camera transports them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed. Photos fade. Friendships dissolve. Summers end. But this one will change the girls forever . . . again.

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.

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I was first interested in Proof of Forever because it reminded me of the Britney Spears movie Crossroads. I love a story about girls that are pulled apart, whether it is because they have grown apart or for other reason, that are all of sudden thrust back into each others lives. And although the book is very different from Crossroads, they did have some similarities and the same vibe.

Proof of Forever is the story of Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe, 4 girls that used to spend their summers at camp attached at the hip. But now they are virtual strangers as 2 years ago something pulled them apart. When the camp reunion happens though Joy is convinced they all need to come together and be together one last time. Not completely sold on the idea Tali, Luce and Zoe go along begrudgingly. But before they even know what happens a flash of a camera transports them back in time to the summer they were 15 and all had each other’s back. Now with only each other to count on the 4 of them must figure out a way to fix what broke and get back to the future where they belong.

I guess the main part that I liked about Proof of Forever didn’t end up being the friendships, but the growth of each individual girl. Joy, Tali, Luce and Zoe each had a lot of growing up to do and needed to look at their life before things got complicated. They needed to see what they were like before boys and popularity and the stress of perfection and anger got in the way of everything. It was a highlight to see them make the changes when forced to confront the past and what exactly tore them apart to begin with. It’s a fact that we all change as we get older, but if given the chance to look back would we do things differently? I liked that idea as I watched the 4 of them struggle with it.

All in all Proof of Forever definitely wasn’t Crossroads. It was something else. It was a different kind of story about friendship and growing up. And about how hard it is to stay true to what you feel and believe when other outside sources what you to behave differently.

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1) Liam Hemsworth or Theo James? Theo! Sexy.

2) Reading a Book or Writing a Book? Hard to answer—generally when I am doing one I have the urge to do the other!

3) City or Country? City to live, Country to roam on weekends

4) Phone Call or Text Message? Text

5) Series or Standalone? Standalone… I think?

6) eBook or Print? Print

7) Bad Boy/Girl or Good Guy/Girl? Bad, obviously

8) Sweet or Salty? Salty

9) Facebook or Twitter? Instagram

10) Noon or Midnight? Sunset (am I cheating?)

11) UPS or USPS? USPS.

12) Macaron or Macaroon? I would pick the two oo’s but I don’t actually like the cookie all that much! See my response to salty or sweet, above

13) iPhone or Android? iPhone

14) Cooking or Take Out? I have a love/hate with SeamlessWeb. Or more like addiction/hate. My husband is an amazing cook so I pick cooking if he’s home!

15) Eraser or White Out? White Out—also doubles as nail polish.

16) Sneakers or Heels? Heels

17) Ocean or Pool? Ocean (even though I’m terrified of big waves.)

18) Sour Patch Kids or Swedish Fish? Sour Patch, definitely!

19) DIY or Hire Someone? DIY (and then usually regret it)

20) Starbucks or Make at Home? No coffee for me, please! However, I’m known to spend way too much on iced tea at some fancy Brooklyn cafe when I could easily have made it at home.

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Review: Trouble from the Start – Rachel Hawthorne

Review: Trouble from the Start – Rachel HawthorneTrouble from the Start by Rachel Hawthorne
Published by HarperCollins
Published: April 28th 2015
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four-half-stars

Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Barnholdt, and Susane Colasanti, Trouble from the Start is a sweet and romantic read about a good girl who falls for a bad boy.

Avery knows better than to fall for Fletcher, the local bad boy who can't seem to outrun his reputation. Fletcher knows he shouldn't bother with college-bound, daughter-of-a-cop Avery. But when their paths cross, neither can deny the spark. Are they willing to go against everything and let their hearts lead the way? Or are they just flirting with disaster?

A companion novel to Rachel Hawthorne's paperback original The Boyfriend Project, this title is perfect for fans of summer beach reads and sweet treats.

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.

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I have been a Rachel Hawthorne fan for a long time. Actually when I first got big into reading 4 years ago Rachel’s books Love on the Lifts, Thrill Ride and Labor of Love were 3 of my favorites. She just has a way about her writing that makes you smile and feel good about life. So when I saw she was finally coming out with a new book I was beyond thrilled. I knew it was what I had been waiting for for a long time. And I can say it lived up to every one of my high hopes and expectations. It was amazingly awesome!

Trouble from the Start is the story of Avery, the daughter of a cop, the good girl. She has done everything by the book for as long as she can remember. She picks the right guys, does the right thing, makes the right friends. But when her path begins to intersect with Fletcher, the local with the bad reputation, Avery starts to develop feelings for the guy she knows she should stay away from. And honestly the last thing Fletcher needs is to date the daughter of a cop. But as they two of them get closer and closer they need to decide is it better to be who they are supposed to be or give in to the feelings of love.

Have I mentioned how much I loved this book? I can’t really describe what it is about a Rachel Hawthorne book that just makes me so happy. She just has this way about writing her characters that pulls you into the story and makes you invested. I mean Avery and Fletcher could not have been farther from each other’s type but Hawthorne made it work. She made the perfect girl see past the bad boy image and the bad boy see more than a goody two shoes. She made me believe they were the perfect match.

Seriously when all was said and done I loved Fletcher and Avery’s relationship so so much. Fletcher really hurt my heart. I wanted to hug him so bad and I was so happy that he ended up with someone like Avery and even Avery’s family, in his corner. The kid had a bad go of things and he just needed people to be there for him. And Avery was pretty great too. She had trouble being herself around people because they all expected her to be a snobby tattletale and she wasn’t . She was smart and dorky but she wasn’t what everyone thought her to be. Reading about her and Fletcher together really filled me with an amazingly happy feeling.

Basically I didn’t realize how much I missed Rachel Hawthorne until I was lucky enough to get to read another Rachel Hawthorne book. She gets teenagers in a way that so few people do. Her books are fun and with heart and a great story. I highly recommend picking up Trouble From the Start and any other Hawthorne books you can get your hands on!

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Don’t forget to check out my Blog Tour post from 5/1 with a giveaway for this book and The Boyfriend Project or One Perfect Summer.

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Blog Tour: The ABCs with Avery from Trouble from the Start by Rachel Hawthorne (Giveaway)

Today we have a special edition of The ABCs brought by a character in Rachel Hawthorne’s newest book Trouble from the Start. The book is one in a companion series which is out in stores and online now. You can find out more on the book and enter the giveaway for either Trouble from the Start and The Boyfriend Project  or two of Rachel’s previous books bound into one book called One Perfect Summer (Thrill Ride and Labor of Love). But now let’s welcome Avery (and Rachel) to the ABCs!

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Participating in THE ABC’s is a fun challenge. As someone who is way too smart for her own good, I—Avery Watkins—love figuring out challenges. While I’m not much of a shopper, I do have a few items that I would love to have because they speak to me in one way or another.

Accessory- Infinity Necklace by James Avery
An infinity necklace by James Avery because I’m a math geek and love anything associated with numbers. It also represents the boundless love I have for Fletcher. (Or will have by the end of our story; in the beginning, I think the guy is nothing but trouble.)

Book-Winter by Marissa Meyer
I love love love the Lunar Chronicles and can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on Winter. I’m fascinated by the way Marissa Meyer has taken fairy tales and given them a twist in a futuristic world.

Clothes- Polyvore Red Leather Jacket
Since I’m spending a lot of time on the back of Fletcher’s motorcycle, I want a jacket that matches the red helmet he gave me to wear. I like this one by Polyvore. It’s simple but stylish—and that suits me. I’ve never been very flashy.

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Blog Tour: The ABCs with Avery from Trouble from the Start by Rachel Hawthorne (Giveaway)Trouble from the Start by Rachel Hawthorne
Published by HarperCollins
Published: April 28th 2015
Buy on Amazon
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One of two companion novels from beach-read favorite Rachel Hawthorne, this cute, romantic paperback original is about a good girl who falls for a bad guy.

Avery knows better than to fall for Fletcher, the local bad boy who can’t seem to outrun his reputation. Fletcher knows he shouldn’t bother with college-bound, daughter-of-a-cop Avery. But when their paths cross, neither can deny the spark. Are they willing to go against everything and let their hearts lead the way? Or are they just flirting with disaster?Trouble from the Start releases simultaneously with companion novel The Boyfriend Project. These heartwarming paperback originals are the perfect summer reads, great for fans of Jennifer Echols, Lauren Barnholdt, and Susane Colasanti.

About Rachel Hawthorne

Rachel Hawthorne, who also writes as Lorraine Heath and Jade Parker, is the daughter of a British beauty (her mother won second place in a beauty contest sponsored by Max Factor® during which she received a kiss from Caesar Romero-who played the Joker on the old Batman TV series) and a Texan who was stationed at Bovingdon while serving in the air force. Lorraine was born in Watford, Herts, England, but soon after moved to Texas. Her "dual" nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan. She enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.

When she received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her to create believable characters—characters that are often described as “real people.” She writes for both adult and young adult readers. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Americana historicals. Her novels have been recognized with a RITA, Romance Writers of America’s most prestigious award for excellence, a HOLT medallion award honoring outstanding literary fiction, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, five Texas Gold Awards, the Golden Quill Award, the Rising Star Award as well as other awards and recognitions. Her novels have been selections of the Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Club. Her novels have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today, Waldenbooks, and most recently, the New York Times.

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US ONLY! Enter to win Trouble from the Start and The Boyfriend Project OR One Perfect Summer. Ends May 15th at 12am.

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Tour Schedule:
Week 1:
Mon., 4/27 – The Irish Banana Review
Tues., 4/28 – My Guilty Obsession
Wed., 4/29 – FictionFare
Thurs., 4/30 – Swoony Boys Podcast
Fri., 5/1 – Andi’s ABCs
 
Week 2:
Mon., 5/4 – Book Rocky Betty
Tues., 5/5 – Supernatural Snark
Wed., 5/6 – Reading W/ABC
Thurs., 5/7 – No BS Book Reviews
Fri., 5/8 – Gone With the Words

 

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