Review: Virtually Yours – Sarvenaz Tash

Review: Virtually Yours – Sarvenaz TashVirtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: June 4, 2019
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five-stars

Modern love plus online anonymity is a recipe for romantic disaster in this lighthearted new romance from the author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love.

How bad can one little virtual lie be?

NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal.

It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right?

Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL.

Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love?

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.

Way back in 2015 I came across a book called Three Day Summer and I was instantly hooked on how Sarvenaz Tash tells a story and the characters she creates. I knew immediately after finishing it I was going to eagerly anticipate all her releases and I wasn’t wrong. I have been waiting for something new since 2016 when A Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love (an all-time favorite) and when I heard about Virtually Yours I was beyond thrilled. It had been so long and the anticipation was killing me. I am happy to say that it lived up to every expectation I had and was 100% worth the wait.

Virtually Yours is about Mariam, a freshman at NYU who had her heart demolished when her boyfriend of 3 years broke up with her. Not wanting to be stuck in her room she decides to try a virtual reality dating site. Mariam is given 3 matches to pick from and to her surprise one is her ex-boyfriend, Caleb. Deciding to throw caution to the wind, she selects him in starts dating him in secret and things start to go well. Then enter Jeremy, a guy at work she immediately hits it off with. The two of them are on the fast track to being best friends. There is just one catch, he was also one of her 3 matches. Now Mariam must decide between what her head thinks she wants and what her heart actually needs.

At first glance, this book sounds like a love triangle. It is not. It is really the story of Mariam and her figuring out what she wants out of life and out of love which is what being 18 should be about. She is a freshman in college and she doesn’t have all the answers. She doesn’t have any of the answers so she does things that she thinks are right but might not be right for her. That’s what I loved about this story. By re-dating Caleb she found out she was a different person than she thought she was and found out what she truly wanted and what would make her happy.

I can’t explain enough how much I love this author and the stories she tells. Tash seems to have a great grasp on the teenage/YA emotion and I can’t get enough of her stories. I’ve been a fan since 2015 and Virtually loves just cemented that love. If this one isn’t one your TBR it should be.

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New to You (20): Jennifer reviews Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson {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 Jennifer from YABookNerd. When Jennifer signed up I knew Second Chance Summer would be the perfect book for her to read. She told me why she put off reading and believe me I understand, but I also knew she would love it. Let’s see if I was right:

New to You (20): Jennifer reviews Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson {giveaway}Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: May 7, 2013
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five-stars

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.


The news from Taylor’s Dad changed everything. Instead of the summer they planned, the whole family will be spending the summer at the lake house together. The lake house where they once spent every summer before life got in the way. The lake house where everything for Taylor fell apart – including the relationships both her best friend and her first boyfriend.

Now she’s back and everything’s different and yet the same.She has to face everyone again. Plus she has to face the fact that this is her last summer with her father. As the summer progresses, she must face both her past and her future.

My Thoughts: I adore Morgan Matson, but I put off reading this book because I knew it was going to destroy me. And it did. I made until the last little bit of the book and I bawled like a baby. My puppy grew so concerned that she came over to make sure that I was okay.

But besides the heart wrenching tears, Andi was right, this one is amazing. I loved it. I loved learning about the past and how that influenced the present. I enjoyed the moments at Taylor’s job – working with her ex-best friend and trying to navigate those waters. I liked learning how they both had changed in the years apart. I liked the banter between Taylor and Henry. I loved Henry’s little brother. I loved the dog and who he inserted himself in to the family. 


I have a hard time reading books that I know will make me cry, but I loved this book. I was sad yet hopeful and of course all about second chances. If you haven’t read this one yet, run out to the library and grab it! 


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Thanks Jennifer for signing up for New to You. I’m sorry your puppy was so concerned, but the tears are so worth it.

My review of Second Chance Summer.

Giveaway is US only and ends on November 15, 2018 at 11:59pm EST.

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Do you have a book that brings you to tears but you still recommend?

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Blog Tour: Save the Date by Morgan Matson {giveaway}

Today is my stop of the blog tour for Morgan Matson’s newest book, Save the Date (out 6/5/18). I’m super excited I was selected to take part in this tour because 1) I love Morgan and all her books, 2) She will be in the Boston area tonight for a signing, and 3) Is there a more perfect book for me to make cards for than a book about a wedding?

That’s right, for this stop on the tour I am sharing three cards I made for events that usually come with a wedding. What kind of cards did I make? I made a card for an engagement party, a bridal shower, and the wedding itself.

Let’s start with the Engagement card:

I have wanted to make a card like this for a long time. I I grabbed some Audrey Blue card stock and some silver glitter card stock and used a couple of dies I have in my stash to create the box and the “diamond”. Since the box is rather large I decided to keep the rest of the card simple and just stamped a sentiment from my favorite set that says: ‘Happy girls are the prettiest. – Audrey Hepburn’ (can you see what I’m doing here?!?!) and a simple congratulations on the inside. I have to admit it was my favorite out of all three cards.

Next up is the Bridal Shower card:

I had recently purchased a heavy weight vellum so I knew I wanted to make a card out of it. Using a stamp and die set I created the bride. I stamped her on white card stock and again on a textured card stock. I hand cut the dress out on the textured paper and glued it on. Since the card is translucent I added a second die cut to the back of the front flap to match the cover. Inside I placed a simple rectangle and once again stamped the word congratulations.

And lastly we have the Wedding Day card:

Trying to tie the Wedding card into the Engagement card I used the same silver glitter card stock and die cut out the phrase, ‘Mr. & Mrs’. I adhered that to the shimmery opal card stock and some die cut flowers. I added a gem to the center of each flower to add a little more interest. Since I didn’t want to use congratulations I simply stamped the phrase: Happy Wedding Day.

These cards were a lot of fun to make and very fitting for the subject of the book.

Blog Tour: Save the Date by Morgan Matson {giveaway}Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Published: June 5, 2018
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Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

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About Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, but halfway through a theater degree, she started working in the children’s department of Vroman’s Bookstore and fell in love with YA literature.

Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she received her M.F.A. in Writing for Children from The New school and worked as an editor for YA novels. She received a second M.F.A. (for reasons that made sense at the time) in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Her novels have been translated into dozens of languages, and published all over the world.

Morgan’s first novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, was inspired by her love of road trips, snacks, and the quest for the perfect playlist. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a Publisher’s Weekly Flying Start book, and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize.

Her second novel, Second Chance Summer, was inspired by her experiences spending summers in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was the winner of the California Book Award (YA category) and was named to the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults List, selected for the Oklahoma Sequoya List, and selected as a School Library Journal Best Book.

Her third novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, was published in 2014, and was a Publisher’s Weekly and international bestseller. It was named to the YALSA Teens Top Ten list, and the Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award List.

Morgan’s fourth novel, The Unexpected Everything, was published May 3rd, 2016.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Murphy.

Win a copy of SAVE THE DATE by Morgan Matson; US Only; Runs 6/4 – 6/21

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Tour Schedule

June 4th
Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome

June 5th
Aimee, Always– Q&A and Creative Option
The Candid Cover– Review

June 6th
The Readers Den– Review
Girl in the Pages– Review

June 7th
Andi’s ABCs– Creative Option
Latte Nights Reviews– Review & Favorite Quotes
JustAddAWord– Review & Book Aesthetics

June 8th
Fangirl Fury– Review
The Book Slayer– Review & Favorite Quotes
Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

June 11th
Book Beach Bunny– Review
The Heart of a Book Blogger– Review

June 12th
The Left-Handed Book Lover – Review
Rocky Reads– Q&A

June 13th
That Artsy Reader Girl– Review
Never Too Many To Read– Creative Option

June 14th
My Thoughts Literally– Review & Favorite Quotes
Vicky Who Reads– Review

June 15th
JennReneeRead– Review
The Book Nut– Review & Playlist
A Perfection Called Books– Review

 

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New to You (3): Kelsey Reviews The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash {+ a giveaway}

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have any of you read anything by Sarvenaz Tash?

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On My Radar – June Releases (11)

Summer weather is slowly starting to show up all over the country. In Boston is has been 90+ the past couple of days (it will be back to normal this weekend). With summer around the corner it means summer months are going to be starting which means new releases.

Currently there are 15 books I am excited for in June. Some I have already read and others I’m excited to check out. With June a week and a half away I thought I would highlight a few of the books I’m really excited to either read or see out in the wild

On My Radar – June Releases (11)Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: June 6th 2017
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A young, street-savvy runaway looking for a place to call home realized he might have conned his way into the wrong family in this fast-paced and thrilling novel from award-winning author Cristin Terrill.

When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California's most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.

Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he's no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he's initially too traumatized to speak, but he's alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he'll recover his memories; all that matters now is they're together again.

It's perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.

He isn't Daniel Tate.

He's a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he's not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.

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On My Radar – June Releases (11)Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Published: June 6th 2017
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As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

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On My Radar – June Releases (11)The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber
Published by Thomas Nelson
Published: June 6th 2017
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Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel--Earth's charming young playboy--the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.

From the award-winning author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, step into a diverse cast of characters spanning from the electric metropolises of earth to the chilling alien planet above, in a story of re-finding yourself in the midst of losing the one thing you love. Before it all evaporates.

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On My Radar – June Releases (11)Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published: June 13th 2017
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Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

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On My Radar – June Releases (11)Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: June 6th 2017
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Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

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On My Radar – June Releases (11)Salvaged by Jay Crownover
Series: Saints of Denver #3
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Published: June 20th 2017
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Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

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And I just realized most of these come out on June 6th. OOPS. Hope you are ready to get your read on.

If you are looking for other books on my radar you can check out my June shelf on Goodreads HERE.

What’s on your radar in June?

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