Barely Have the Words (1)

I was looking at some of my 5 star reads, some read almost 3 years ago, that I still need to review. I realized there are some books I love so much I’m not sure I will ever be able to put into words how I really felt about them so welcome to my new feature, Barely Have the Words. I can’t adequately review this books since “READ IT” doesn’t really tell you how it made me feel, but this is my start:

Barely Have the Words (1)Sadie by Courtney Summers
Published by Wednesday Books
Published: September 4, 2018
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five-stars

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

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.

It has been months since I read this and I still can’t accurately put my feelings into words. I know this is the best Courtney Summers book I have read to date and left me emotionally wrecked.  It is dark, and hard to read, and what can be ugly about the world, but it is a story of love and strength too. It broke my heart into tiny pieces and worth every sliver. Sadie was a broken girl and justice was her only way to deal with how truly demolished she was. But even with all the sadness and the pain Sadie is worth the read. Not only is the format awesome and something new/now, you will feel for these characters like you have never felt for fictional people before. This is a must read.

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Barely Have the Words (1)Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books
Published: September 4, 2018
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five-stars

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

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.

I don’t often give Christina Lauren books a 5 star rating. The highest to this point has been 4.5 stars. It isn’t because I don’t love them and enjoy my reading experience. It is mostly because there is that one thing in the story that ends up bugging me and taking away from the whole feel. Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating didn’t have that one thing. It was perfect, and I don’t know what else to say about it. I have been trying to gather my thoughts since I finished in mid2018 and I just can’t do it. What I can say is that I loved everything about it. I loved hos crazy Hazel was and how dumb Josh was. I loved their friendship and their not friendship. I loved there chemistry. Basically, I loved it and that is what it comes down to in the end.

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Barely Have the Words (1)Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: July 4, 2017
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five-stars

Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic tryout, so Maggie feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to sacrifice in the water to win at 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.

Coming Up for Air is one of the rare books that I have read twice (once as a draft) that I still can’t find the words for. Part of the problem is it is Miranda Kenneally’s last book in the Hundred Oaks series and that is so hard to capture in a review. The other problem is that I loved Maggie and Levi’s relationship so much I can’t really describe the love I have for it. This book was probably Miranda’s funniest to date and her most sex positive and I still can’t tell you exactly why I loved it. Does just saying “read this book and this companion series and be done with it” work because that is all I’ve got. Also Kenneally writes a cute boy.

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Barely Have the Words (1)There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Published: September 26, 2017
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five-stars

Love hurts...

Makani Young thought she'd left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She's found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn't far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

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.

I read There’s Someone Inside Your House almost 3 years ago, the days after I met Stephanie Perkins for the first time. The whole this was surreal and I think that is why I have had such a hard time reviewing it. I’m not a horror/slasher book kind of person but TSIYH was just fun (and I’m aware that is odd to say). It brought me back to those great Kevin Williamson written horror movies with some of those Stephanie Perkins’ contemp moments. It is not the same experience as I had with Anna/Lola/Isla. It is a completely different book yet I still felt Steph when reading it. I can’t really say much else because a) I don’t want to give anything away from the book and b) I’m still kind of a loss for words from meeting Stephanie to reading the book right after. I just know I need something new from her and I need it now.

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These ‘reviews’ don’t do the books justice, but I have no other way to describe them. In the end I leave you with…READ THEM!

What books to you love and can’t review because you love them so much?

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New to You (8): Wendy Reviews Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins {+ 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 Wendy from Book Scents. After years of begging I finally got her to read my all time favorite book (I have read it at least 14 times), Anna and the French Kiss! I won’t lie, I was nervous assigning this book to someone. It’s hard to hear if someone doesn’t love a favorite, but I can happily report Wendy did not let me down, and Anna didn’t let her down either. Come check out her review and enter my giveaway for a copy!

New to You (8): Wendy Reviews Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins {+ a giveaway}Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Published: December 2, 2010
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four-half-stars

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Anna and the French Kiss is one of those quintessential YA books that everyone seems to have read and everyone talks about! Except me! To be honest, I was worried that it would be too fluffy and I wanted to love it like everyone else! The fear of not loving it made me keep putting it off until my good friend Andi laid down an ultimatum on our friendship to have to read it. Just kidding!! I am so glad I finally read it though and I shouldn’t have worried about too much fluff at all!

Anna gets sent off to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year and she’s not happy about it. As she slowly makes friends though, she begins to fall in love with the city — not to mention a certain boy named Etienne. I have a terrible case of wanderlust and anytime I read books set in different locales, my wanderlust feelings flare. This was no exception! I absolutely loved seeing Paris through Anna’s eyes as she gradually goes out and explores the city and sights! She loves film and makes it a point to visit different theaters and I wanted to be there with her! And of course, how better to see a new city than with the swooniest boy at your side?

I LOVED Etienne so so much. I get it now, you guys! The British accent, that certain something that just grabs you from the first second you meet this boy! He is sweet, funny, caring– and has a girlfriend. This is that major something that tripped me up in this book. I couldn’t stand how long he was with that girl. She’s not actually IN the book a whole lot but I didn’t expect him to still be “with” her for the majority of the book! So that aspect kept hanging over me the whole time and I wish it wasn’t so!!

However, that aside, I really loved everything else. I liked how real the friendships Anna made at school felt. Sometimes in YA, certain aspects can seem below the age range but everything felt so authentic here. Anna’s thoughts and feelings were spot on for a teen senior. I really appreciated that! There is also depth in relationships, both familial and romantic, and much about finding yourself.

I really enjoyed this one so much! A combination of vicariously living abroad through Anna and a dreamy boy made for such a perfect YA contemporary. I can’t wait to read the rest of the companion books!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 30, 2018. It is US ONLY!

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Thanks Wendy for signing up for New to You and finally listening to me about my favorite book!

My Anna and the French Kiss review.

Have you read Anna and the French Kiss yet?

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Top Ten Tuesday – What I Love About Romance in One Book

Romance is my favorite part of a good book. There is something so magical about watching a realtioship blossom and grow as a reader turns the page. I have been lucky to read some great romances over my time as a reader. I mean I could give you a huge list of books that have amazing love stories. But I was able to give you one book that has my 4 favorite parts of a romance. And that book is…Anna and the French Kiss (I know, hold back your surprise). Anna has my favorite four parts to any good book romance. Maybe that’s what I like it so much. So what do you like most about a good romance in a book?

romance

Anna and the French Kiss

*Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
**Top Ten Tuesday photo made by me with the help of Goodreads for the covers. If you would like to use it please give credit.

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Review: Where She Went – Gayle Forman

Review: Where She Went – Gayle FormanWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #2
Published by Speak
Published: April 17th 2012
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five-stars

It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Review

I first fell in love with Mia and Adam’s stories when I read both If I Stay and Where She Went back in April of 2011. It was my first experience with Gayle Forman’s writing and I was head over heels for it. She wrote a heartbreaking story that made me feel sad and uplifted and broken and emotionally drained and hopeful all in the span of two books. She hit on all the right spots and I just fell in love. And then I saw the If I Stay movie and all of those emotions came back. I left the theater knowing one thing, I had to read Where She Went again. I had to go back to Adam’s story. And the truth is, I had all the same emotions coursing through me as I did the first time I read it, only this time it felt more real, like I knew these characters and I was an actual part of their story.

Where She Went is the second part of the If I Stay duology. It’s been three years since the accident that took away Mia’s family and Adam is off living his dream. He’s won awards, had platinum records, and a tour on the way. But Adam is no longer the same guy he was. His life is the shadow of what it should be and it all traces back to the accident that changed everything he believed in. Now he was a broken guy no longer in love with the music he used to eat, slept and dreamed about. Instead he is a guy just floating by. And then a random, chance encounter changes everything. And the past that Adam thought he was over and had left behind is suddenly right in his face leaving him no choice but to deal with his demons and decide if the past should be left in the past.

So when I read this book the first time I didn’t review it. I had a really hard time putting it into words and I don’t want to spoil either book for anyone. But I just need to get it out there how amazing this follow-up truly is. The truth is if I thought I was demolished by Mia’s story in If I Stay, that was nothing compared to Adam. Where She Went took the feels to a whole other level. My heart just ached for him and everything that had unraveled in his life. How he had to look put together almost all the time when he was just a mess inside. Basically Adam killed me in this book in the kind of way that was a punch to the gut. He just seemed so alone and detached and I hated seeing him that way. But I also understood it. Between the pressure and the guilt and the grief and the heartache he was desperate to not feel so alone which he always did even if he was in a room full of people. Adam was missing one thing and it was his heart which was shattered on a snowy road in Oregon years before. Killed me!

With all that said Where She Went is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read and read reread and that is a testament to Forman and the way she writes a book to make it feel real, how you feel a part of the story. I was affected the first time I read this book, but even more the second time. It felt a part of me and it left me feeling like things sometimes had a way of figuring themselves on their own. If you haven’t read either if these books I highly recommend that you do.

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ifjust1just2

 

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Isla is Coming…actually Isla is HERE!

bannerIt’s here! Finally after years of waiting Isla is here and I’m sure most, if not all of you, now have your hands on the pretty. I was lucky enough to get to read it early, but I’m having fun reading it again with all of you.

Anyway, today is my day on the #IslaIsComing blog tour. It’s been a lot of fun to host this with Jamie, Judith, Lindsey, and Meg, and to see all of the fun you all have had participating whether it was in the blog tour or the readalong. We are in the home stretch and I can’t believe it is all almost over. But it isn’t over yet. Today I get to do the thing that I love to do besides reading. I get to “shop”. More accurately, play stylist to my three favorite book ladies, Anna, Lola and Isla.

When I reviewed Anna on my blog for the first time I was inspired to dress her in what I thought she would wear. I pulled all the things I new about her and created an outfit that I find to be so totally Anna. Well when I was thinking about what I wanted to do for my stop on the tour I decided why stop at Anna, why not dress all three girls. And if I was dressing all three, might as well give Anna something new to wear.

Without further ado, the looks:

anna2

We all know that Anna likes comfort. She wears sneaker (not white!), graphic tees, and carries a notebook. She is her own kind of quirky and has a blonde stripe in her dark hair to prove it. What better look for Anna than an ironic shirt that says “Striped Shirt” instead of actually being a striped shirt. And she would totally rock the mint green Converse. And she can’t go anywhere without those Thin Mints.

lola

Oh our little Lola and her costume-like style. I admit, I don’t feel like I “know” Lola like I know Anna. Her style definitely isn’t anything I would ever attempt, but I like that she is her own person. When I started to search for this look I immediately knew I needed a wig and something that would pass as wearable. I can actually picture Lola in this look which makes me happy with the result. Plus the dress is kind of adorable. I chose the pie earrings for her dad’s pie business and Lola loves her rain boots.

isla

Isla is someone we are all getting to know just know. For those of you that have read the book already you will understand why I chose what I did. Isla is a girly girl and loves a heel. I don’t want to give away too much about why these item were selected, but this look may be my favorite of the bunch.

So there you have it, my stop on the #IslaIsComing tour. I had a lot of fun doing this and checking out everyone elses stops. If you are interested check out the list below and see who is the next stop.

Tour Schedule

Anna and the French Kiss
7/31 – Paper Riot (Anna Readalong Kick-Off)
8/01 – Novel Sounds
8/04 – The Book Addict’s Guide
8/05 – Alexa Loves Books
8/06 – A Bookish Sinister Kid

Lola and the Boy Next Door
8/07 – Cuddlebuggery (Lola Readalong Kick-Off)
8/07 – GReads!
8/09 – Book Revels
8/12 – Rather Be Reading
8/13 – Finding Bliss in Books

Isla and the Happily Ever After
8/14 – The Perpetual Page-Turner (Isla Readalong Kick-Off)
8/15 – AndiABCs
8/18 – Writer of Wrongs
8/19 – Anna Reads
8/20 – Good Books and Good Wine

Anna REVIEW
Lola REVIEW
Isla REVIEW

*banner by the fabulous Meg

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