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: Pulled Under – Michelle Dalton

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Title: Pulled Under [Amazon]
Author: Michelle Dalton [website]
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Edelweiss/Digital ARC
Stars: 3 of 5

Publisher Description:
A shy teen befriends an attractive beach town tourist in this refreshing summertime romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

In the small town of Pearl Beach, Florida, Izzy Lucas needs only her surfboard and the water to be completely happy. She wants nothing to do with parties, popularity contests, or showing her face around the clichéd touristy hangouts. Izzy’s tight group of coworkers at the local surf shop have tried relentlessly to break shy Izzy out of her (sea)shell. But Izzy isn’t interested…until the day Ben Barker walks into the store.

Ben’s from the city. He’s cute, charming, and wants her help adjusting to beach town culture. As the weeks of surfing lessons and pizza shack visits fly by, Izzy and Ben realize their attraction goes beyond mere friendship. But Ben is only in town for three months, and Izzy wonders if this amazing guy is worth stepping out of her comfort zone for what might be the perfect summer romance—or her first heartbreak.

My Thoughts:
I was a huge fan of Michelle Dalton’s first book Sixteenth Summer. It was the epitome of a good summer romance. And I really enjoyed her next book Fifteenth Summer. It didn’t have that same spark as Sixteenth Summer, but it was a pretty good read. So I was excited when I saw she was doing another summer romance with Pulled Under. But sadly I just kind of liked the book and didn’t love. Like in Fifteenth Summer, that spark just wasn’t there so Pulled Under just became an okay read.

Pulled Under is the story of Izzy, a shy girl that lives in a small beach town in Florida. Her whole life she has been the one to shy away from the spotlight, hide in the shadows of her best friends, and generally be unnoticeable. She has been happy being this way for as long as she can remember. As long as she has her job at Surf Sisters and her surfing she is good to go. That is until Ben walks into her life. A boy visiting for the summer, he changes Izzy in ways she never imagined. What starts as an awkward encounter to friendship to romance Izzy is in for the summer of her life and for seeing a side she never knew existed. But with Ben only there for the summer Izzy has to wonder if it is all worth it or if she had the right idea to begin with by keeping to herself.

Before I get into the actually story I have to say something about the cover because it really bothers me. I hate the fact that the title of the book is hidden and how it is alluded to Pulled Under being a companion to Sixteenth Summer which it isn’t. Is it another summer romance story? Sure. But there isn’t anything that connected these two books in the way that deserves to cover Pulled Under has. I’m not a fan and I had to get that off my chest.

Okay, back to the story. Although I didn’t find this book to be amazing, I did have some parts that I really loved. I loved the relationship between Izzy and her parents. That was a nice surprise as it is pretty rare in YA to see how they were portrayed. I mean, they actually liked each other and had fun together. That was pretty awesome. I also really liked Izzy and her friends at the surf shop, and Izzy and Ben. Both relationships were pretty remarkable and were able to show the little about Izzy that we did know. Seeing her with her friends showed the girl that slowly came out of her shell and was the same with Ben. But I also had a problem with her too. She was very drama oriented which didn’t really fit with her character. And I feel like we didn’t get to know her as a person. Actually I felt like I learned more about surfing than I did about Izzy and that was a disappointment. If there was only some more insight into her motivation and why she acted shy like she did, I think I would have enjoyed this story on a different level.

All in all Pulled Under was a quick read that got me in the mood for summer. It was fun and easy and just what I wanted. It definitely wasn’t my favorite Dalton, but I look forward to more work from her in the future.

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Review: Fifteenth Summer – Michelle Dalton

Review: Fifteenth Summer – Michelle DaltonFifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published: May 7th 2013
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Chelsea isn’t looking forward to her summer at the lake. It’s the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can’t break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny…and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can’t believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful.

But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She’ll be heading home at the end of the summer—and he’ll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea’s summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart?

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Ever find a book that is the perfect book at the perfect moment? It may not be the deepest and most serious of books, but it makes you feel good and smile and makes you remember why you love to read. Fifteenth Summer was that book for me. When I picked up Fifteenth Summer I had just read a book I didn’t like and a book that was just okay so I just need something and it happened at the perfect time. Being a fan of Dalton’s over book, Sixteenth Summer, I had high hopes  for this one anyway and like she did before Dalton delivered.

Fifteenth Summer is the story a Chelsea, a 15 year old girl heading to the house she spent her summers at when she was younger, the house her grandmother lived in. What seems normal is anything but because this summer will be Chelsea and her family’s first time at the house since her grandmother passed away earlier that year. Surrounded by memories Chelsea seeks refuge in a book store where she meets Josh, a cute boy that constantly gives her mix signals. But as those signals uncross Chelsea and Josh start on an epic journey of first love and possibly a broken heart for one or both of them.

Like I said I adored this book. It happened that I read it at the exact right time that I need some adorableness in my life and now without a shadow of doubt I know that Dalton can deliver.  The realistic quality mixed with the likable characters of Josh and Chelsea not to mention the use of grief and responsibility all clicked really well. Well you felt sad for Chelsea you were excited that she had this thing blooming with Josh. And while you didn’t understand why Josh was taking on so much responsibility you understood his need to make sure his family succeeded. Add to that the undeniable chemistry between Chelsea and Josh and the lake/beach setting and you have a winner.

Dalton has such an ease about her writing that it feels like coming home after a cold winter. Her words seem to wrap around you and just make you feel good. Whether it was happy scene or a scene filled with sadness I wanted to read more and feel the impact it would have on me. Chelsea and Josh brought a smile to my face and an ache to my heart but it was worth it all because this read was exactly what I needed at the exact right time.

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Monopoly Money Monday and a Vote

Welcome to another installment of Monopoly Money Monday. This Monday I am going to spend my fake $100.00(okay, a tad over) on books. Well Pre-Order books from Amazon that is. It’s funny because you would think it would be easy to buy 100 bucks worth of books but it’s actually really hard. Not hard to pick out the books, but to narrow it down to just $100. But after much struggle I narrowed it down to 9 books** that come out over the next couple of months. Now under no circumstance is this list in any order or the only ones I’m dying for. These are just the ones I could “afford”. Without further ado:

madnessThe Madness Underneath(Shades of London Series) by Maureen Johnson
Price: $11.98
Release Date: February 26, 2013

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades— the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

thingsThings I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Price: $9.99
Release Date: March 1, 2013

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

imposterImposter(Slide series) by Jill Hathaway
Price: $11.98
Release Date: March 26, 2013

What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.

brokenThe Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Price: $11.46
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

criminalCriminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Price: $11.20
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime – a crime that ends in murder – Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about?

Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional . . . but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

rightRight of Way by Lauren Barnholdt
Price: $10.98
Release Date: July 9, 2013

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

thousandThousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Price: $10.98
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look.

15thFifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Price: $9.99
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Chelsea isn’t looking forward to her summer at the lake. It’s the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can’t break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny…and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can’t believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful.

But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She’ll be heading home at the end of the summer—and he’ll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea’s summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart?

annalolaIsla and the Happily Ever After(no cover available) by Stephanie Perkins
Price: $11.98
Release Date: September 17, 2013

Falling in love in the world’s most romantic city is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year at the School of America in Paris, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to deal with the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

So there you have it, the 9 books I would buy right now if a) the were all out already and b) I had $100.54 laying around(told you I went a little over budget). But really who are we kidding? You all know I will be buying all of these anyway. But man is it fun to pretend today.

*all book descriptions have come from goodreads.com

**Honorable mention: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, The Elite by Kiera Cass, Dare You To by Katie McGarry, How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler

And because I love books, I’m letting you all vote on which one I should buy. Please fill out the form below and I will pre-order the one with the most votes by February 11th.

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