Blog Tour Review: Swept Away – Michelle Dalton {Giveaway}

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 Blog Tour Review: Swept Away – Michelle Dalton {Giveaway}Swept Away by Michelle Dalton
Published by Simon and Schuster
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three-half-stars

Beachfront love blossoms in this refreshing summer romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

Mandy Sullivan isn’t exactly looking forward to the summer months as tourists invade her seaside hometown on the coast of Maine. Her best friend, Cynthia, has abandoned her for camp and her older brother just announced he’ll be staying at college taking classes for the summer, leaving Mandy with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. Hoping to keep herself busy, Mandy takes a volunteer job at the Rocky Pointe Lighthouse. On her very first day, Oliver Farmingham asks for a private tour. A new—and incredibly cute—face in Rocky Pointe, Oliver seems more interested in Mandy than the lighthouse and its history.

Without her best friend at her side, Mandy is scrambling to act the right way and say the right things when Oliver is around. Cynthia—not Mandy—has always been the confident, flirtatious girl that everyone wanted to be around. As Mandy and Oliver spend more time together exploring the coast, biking through the woods, and attending the local summer festivals, their budding friendship becomes much more. But with Mandy’s insecurities creeping to the surface, can she open her heart to someone who will only be in town for three months?

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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The amazing thing about a Michelle Dalton book is the ability it has to put you right in a beach side town in summer. Since reading her first book, Sixteenth Summer, she has managed to transport me to warm summer days on a beach, Cape Cod for me, and made me remember what it was like in the summer when I was younger. She has done it with every book of hers so far and Swept Away wasn’t any different.

Swept Away is the story of Mandy, a girl living in a small town in Coastal Maine. Mandy is not looking forward to the summer in front of her. Her best friend will be away, her mom and forcing her to volunteer at the light house and her brother isn’t coming home from college. Mandy has resigned herself to this being the worst summer of her life. That is until Oliver, the new summer boy, shows up and has a huge interest in her. Now instead of being forced to spend time with her mother and at the light house Mandy is having the summer of her romantic dreams and learns a little something about herself in the process. But like all summer romances there is an end date and as it gets closer and closer Mandy and Oliver have to deal with the harsh light of their reality and see if love is worth it.

The thing I love most about Dalton’s writing is her consistency. All of her books have the same writing and feel to them but they are also different enough that you don’t feel like you are reading the same book. Swept Away fit in perfectly. There was the cute coastal town, the endless summer days and the quintessential summer romance. It is basically a perfect beach read as it keeps you interested but doesn’t bog you down with over the top drama.

I also really enjoy Michelle’s characters. Mandy and Oliver were a pretty great pair. Although Mandy did get on my nerves at times by not being herself out of fear that Oliver would leave her (tip: he isn’t worth it if he doesn’t like who you are), I guess I understood the insecurity more as the book progressed. She was a person that lived in her best friend’s shadow mostly so she wasn’t sure how to just be herself. But even with that blip I really liked Mandy. She was more determined than she knew and she was more open minded than she thought. It was actually nice to see her stand on her own without her best friend. And Oliver, oh Oliver was just geekily adorable. He was 100% nerd and I 100% loved him.

Swept Away was a very fast read that will kept you interested and smiling the whole way. It is the perfect summer beach read and it will make you wish you were there. I would recommend this for contemporary fans for sure as you are guaranteed to enjoys yourself with the feel of summer and first love.

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About Michelle Dalton

Michelle Dalton is one of the many names Carla Jablonski uses when writing. Her two YAs written as Carla Jablonski (published by Razorbill/Penguin), Thicker than Water and Silent Echoes, were included on the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list, and her graphic novel trilogy Resistance (illustrated by Leland Purvis, published by :01 Books) has won several awards, including the Sydney Taylor Silver Medal. In addition to writing novels she is an actor, playwright, and former trapeze artist. A native New Yorker, she is eternally grateful to her friends who invite her to their beach houses.

Follow the Swept Away by Michelle Dalton Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

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Review: Dissonance – Erica O’Rourke

Review: Dissonance – Erica O’RourkeDissonance by Erica O'Rourke
Series: Dissonance #1
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published: July 22nd 2014
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In this inventive romantic thriller, Del has the power to navigate between alternate realities—and the power to save multiple worlds.

Delancey knows for sure that there is more than one universe. Many more. Because every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world is spun off the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed—all of these choices create alternate universes in which echo selves take the roads not traveled. Del knows all of this because she’s a Walker, someone who can navigate between the worlds, and whose job is to keep the dimensions in harmony.

But Del’s decisions have consequences too. Even though she’s forbidden from Walking after a training session goes horribly wrong, she secretly starts to investigate other dissonant worlds. She’s particularly intrigued by the echo versions of Simon Lane, a guy who won’t give her the time of day in the main world, but whose alternate selves are uniquely interested. But falling for Simon draws Del closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide—a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

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.


Truthfully, I have no idea how I feel about Dissonance. In terms of full disclosure, I read this book after I read two books I had been dying for that were fantastic and nothing could live up to that. So I don’t know if my uncertain feelings are because this book was a ‘rebound’ book or if I really wasn’t as in love with it as I hoped I would be. I mean Dissonance wasn’t a bad book, but I didn’t feel like it was a great book either.

The story is about Del, a girl that gets to travel into parallel worlds because she is what is known as a Walker. With every choice, a person makes a new world, or Echo, is formed and Del gets to navigate them and figure out which ones are stable. But Del has never been one to follow the rules. And when her longtime crush starts popping up in all of her Echoes and noticing her in her real world, the Key World, Del is even less likely to follow the rules. When things start changing in both the Key World and the Echoes, Del must figure out where she stands and what’s important to her.

Part of my problem with Dissonance was the pacing. It’s a long book. No getting around that. It’s a lot of pages with a lot of information and newish terms. Some of the stuff is very dense so it makes it hard to focus and pay attention. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that nothing seemed to be happening. It took about 3 quarters of reading before I was like, ‘oh, something just happened’. It made reading a struggle at times wish was disappointing. On the surface, the premise is really good, but all the buildup and background and unfamiliar words made it harder to get through.

Not that the whole book was bad. There were some really strong parts. The interwoven story of the characters was a part that I really enjoyed along with the different family dynamics. Del’s family was interesting. Addie was a know-it-all, and her parents were workaholics, and her grandfather was somewhere there kind of holding the family together in a way. The way that this dynamic reshaped and changed as the story progressed was a really good part. And when things started to happen, they really started to happen. Whether it was Simon, Del’s crush, and his evolving part in Del’s life or the mystery surrounding the instability in all the worlds, things definitely sped up. Enough to make me want to continue on with the series? That remains to be seen.

 

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Review: In Deep – Terra Elan McEvoy

Review: In Deep – Terra Elan McEvoyIn Deep by Terra Elan McVoy
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published: July 8th 2014
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three-stars

Ultracompetitive Brynn from The Summer of Firsts and Lasts craves swimming victory—and gets in over her head—in this irresistible novel from Terra Elan McVoy.Swim.Push.Breathe.Swim. Nothing else matters to Brynn as she trains her body and mind to win. Not her mediocre grades and lack of real friends at school. Not the gnawing grief over her fallen hero father. Not the strained relationship with her absent mother and clueless stepdad. In the turquoise water, swimming is an escape and her ticket to somewhere—anywhere—else. And nothing will get in her way of claiming victory. But when the competitive streak follows Brynn out of the pool in a wickedly seductive cat-and-mouse game between herself, her wild best friend, and a hot new college swimmer, Brynn’s single-mindedness gets her in over her head, with much more than a trophy to lose.

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 was excited about In Deep for a long time. McVoy has a way about her writing that shows she’s not afraid to go there. Every book you get from her is different and that’s what I appreciate about her and what I appreciated about In Deep. It wasn’t a favorite of mine but it was good and a quick read.

In Deep is about Brynn, a top competitive swimmer that lives her life on discipline. She has very few friends, a deceased father and a remarried mother. She has one good friend and dislikes romantic attachments. To her all she needs is swimming. But when her BFF Grier starts hanging out with the new college hot guy on the team Brynn needs even more than swimming. She needs to be the best at everything. But at what cost?

Right off the bat I will say that Brynn is not a likable character. She only thought about herself and nobody else’s feelings seemed to matter. I appreciated her discipline for getting what she wanted, but her methods were not something I could get on board with. She was one of those girls to me that could only be happy if she made everyone else miserable. Honestly I didn’t understand her need for competition with Grier. But I’m also not a huge fan of the frienemy business that was made popular by Gossip Girl. I also didn’t really get the whole Gavin thing. Besides being hot there was nothing great about him. He was kind of just there for me.

I did really like Kate. She was a great character in Brynn’s life. She gave her some balance that she needed and even made her likable. Their friendship, although rocky and not 100% solid, was one that I could work with and get behind because it was real. It wasn’t that annoying friends but not friends thing, and it wasn’t all or nothing. They fought and worked through it. Kate was shy and timid to an extent but also didn’t let people walk all over her and I appreciated that.

All in all I liked In Deep. It was a quick read with characters that definitely will make you feel things. The plot moved quick at the end, maybe even too quick, but it all made sense. McVoy stayed true to what I’m used to from her and managed to give me something new. I can’t wait to see what she has for us next.

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Review: The Treatment – Suzanne Young

Review: The Treatment – Suzanne YoungThe Treatment by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program #2
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: April 29th 2014
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five-stars

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

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.

First let me start by saying that The Program(review) was one of my favorite reads of 2013. And I know, this isn’t a huge deal since I had a bunch of books that I call my favorites. But it is a big deal. Because you know what? I almost never read The Program which would have been a travesty because then I never would have read The Treatment and I would never have gotten to know these amazing characters and the amazing story that Suzanne Young imagined for us. I would have missed out on a fabulous duology and that would have been a shame.

The Treatment picks up like immediately after The Program ends. Sloane and James are on the run know that they know The Program is after them. They did something that few others have done and maintained their connection to one another even after being “cured”. With the help of Sloane’s “friend” from inside The Program, Michael Realm, the two runaways meet up with other rebels on the run and in hiding. But even with allies Sloane and James don’t know who to trust. And if the truth got out that the have The Treatment, more could be at stake than just their memories. Navigating a world and people they aren’t familiar with James and Sloane have to figure out who to trust, what to do and the most important thing of all, are the risks of taking The Treatment worth it in the end.

Seriously, I don’t think I can accurately put into words how much I enjoyed the ending of this series. A lot happened in The Treatment, but it was all stuff that needed to happen. I fell in love with Sloane and James even more than I already was. Did I like the addition of Dallas(I really wanted to toss her over a bridge a couple of times) and the use of Realm(he seriously ruined everything) and the long absence of James(he was missing for so so long that I actually know what Sloane was feeling!)? No. But I loved the story that all of those parts told. Without all of that stuff the pieces wouldn’t have connected and the story would have been boring. Because really, if it gets me that worked up, it is doing its job. I loved how fast paced it was and the back story to beginning of The Program. And I liked the unexpected help that Sloane and James got when they least expected it and when they needed it most.

But what I really loved was the concept. It was amazing in The Program and even more so in The Treatment. You see, I’m not convinced that the suicide epidemic was actually an epidemic. I mentioned in my review of The Program that to me the story was more “what came first the chicken or the egg” and I still got that feeling from The Treatment, maybe more even. The fact that some scientist made a pill that would cure what The Program cured also made me question if the epidemic was man made by creating panic with teens. It’s a thought I can’t really shake when I think or talk about this series.

Basically, The Treatment lived up to my expectations. It wasn’t easy based alone on my feelings for The Program but it succeeded. Young wrote a book that tied all the ends up in a way that made sense and that worked. It even left me wanting a 3rd book, but that’s a story for another day. The Treatment was thought provoking and a great character story. It made you wonder what you would do if you had the opportunity to get your memories back after they were taken from you and how you would feel if you were the only one that could remember. I truly loved it and I thank you Ms. Young for writing an extraordinary tale that was like nothing I’ve read before. I look forward to reading more from you.

My review of The Program is HERE

 

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Review: Hopeless – Colleen Hoover

Review: Hopeless – Colleen HooverHopeless by Colleen Hoover
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published: May 7th 2013
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three-half-stars

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

 

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I had read Colleen Hoover once in the past and it wasn’t a great experience. I was not a fan of the book so I was wary going into Hopeless. However a friend recommended it and I had wanted to read it at some point in the past so I went for it. I can say with certainty that this book was a much better reading experience than the other. The plot line, although predictable, made way more sense and didn’t make me want to roll my eyes or laugh. Basically it was a win.

Hopeless is the story of Sky, a girl that has been pretty sheltered her whole life. Adopted at 5 she has lived without TV, phone or internet and has been homeschooled. When she is a senior in high school she convinces her mom to let her go to public school where she meets Dean Holder, the resident bad boy. All of a sudden Sky is feeling things for this boy she’s never felt before in her life and with these feelings come memories that she has been surpassing for 13 years that have the potential to change everything she has ever known.

Like I said I found the plot pretty predictable and transparent, but it didn’t bother me as much as it should have and that’s because I really liked the characters. Sky was a really interesting girl. I can’t really pinpoint what it was about her that I liked but it was something. She had great bravado and a killer sense of humor which I like in books. She was the kind of girl you want to be best friends with and learn more about. And then there is Holder. Holder was kind of awesome. He had so many levels and so much depth to him that you couldn’t help but fall in love. He’s one of those people that deeply feels the things that matter to him and isn’t above showing that passion whether it is in anger, love, or sadness. But there is also a mystery to Holder that you are constantly trying to figure out. Together these two characters had an amazing chemistry that just made you want to read more, and as a reader that is all you can ask for.

All in all Hopeless was a good book that hit on some hard issues but didn’t do it in a preachy kind of way. Sure, some of it was slightly ridiculous and unimaginable that it will play out that way, but not ridiculous enough that you have to stop reading. It was a much better reading experience this time around with this author so I’m glad I was suggested her again and gave her another chance.

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