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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Blog Tour – Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Blog Tour – Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne RendellSky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: March 26, 2019
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A thief. An officer. A guardian.


Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.


Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.

Chapter One

Chatine

The rain was falling sideways in the Marsh. It was never a straight downpour. It was always crooked. Just like the people here. Con artists and hustlers and crocs, the lot of them.

Anyone can be a saint until they’re hungry enough.

Chatine Renard was perched high above it all, watching the stream of people churn through the busy marketplace like clotted blood through a vein. She was straddling an exposed metal beam that once connected the old freightship to its roof.

At least, that’s what Chatine had been told—that the Frets were once titanic flying vessels that soared across the galaxy, bringing her ancestors to the planet of Laterre, the coldest and wettest of the twelve planets in the System Divine. But years of neglect and crooked rain had corroded the PermaSteel walls and ceilings, turning the staterooms in the passenger freightships into leaky, mold-ridden housing for the poor, and this cargo freightship into an open-air marketplace.

Chatine pulled her hood farther down her forehead in an attempt to block her face. Much to her dismay, she’d noticed over the past few years that her eyelashes had grown longer, her chest had filled out, her cheekbones had become more pronounced, and her nose had slimmed to a dainty point, which she despised.

She had streaked her face with mud before coming to the Marsh today, but every time she caught sight of her reflection in a puddle or the metal of a partially collapsed wall, she cringed at how much she still looked like a girl.

So inconvenient.

The Marsh was far more crowded today than usual. Chatine leaned forward and balanced on her stomach, hugging the beam to her chest as she scanned the countless faces that passed beneath her. They were always the same faces. Poor, downtrodden souls like her trying to find creative ways to stretch their weekly wages.

Or con their neighbor out of a larg or two.

Newcomers were rare to the Marsh. No one outside of the Third Estate bothered with the picked-over cabbages and mangy turnips for sale. With the exception of Inspecteur Limier and his army of Policier droids tasked with keeping the peace, the Frets and the marketplace in its center were normally avoided at all costs by anyone who didn’t live here.

Which was why the man in the long coat immediately caught Chatine’s eye. His wealth was written all over his groomed black beard, matching hair, pressed clothes, and sparkling adornments.

Second Estate, to be sure.

She’d never known the First Estate to ever venture out of Ledôme. The climate-controlled biodome sat high on the hill just outside the capital city of Vallonay, shielding the First Estate from Laterre’s persistent downpours.

And the slums below.

Chatine’s eyes raked over the man, taking in every stitch and every button. Her gaze expertly landed on the gold medallion dangling like bait from his neck. She didn’t have to see it up close to know it was a relic from the Last Days, rescued from the burning embers of a dying planet. The Second Estate loved their First World relics.

Five hundred largs easy, Chatine calculated in her head. Enough money to feed an entire Third Estate family for weeks.

But it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the crocs in the Marsh spotted the treasure too and made their play. Which meant Chatine had to move fast.

Gripping the beam with both hands, she swung her legs over the side and launched her body to the nearby catwalk, landing silently in a crouch. Directly underneath her, the man continued farther into the marketplace, weaving around the loose chickens that roamed the stalls searching for scraps. His gaze swept left and right as though taking mental inventory of the space.

For a moment, Chatine wondered what he was doing here. Had he gotten lost on his way back up to Ledôme? Or was he here on some kind of business? But then she remembered the annual Ascension happening later today and reasoned he was probably a foreman of a fabrique, come to round up his workers who were skipping out on their shifts to get jacked up on weed wine, all the while hoping to win a new life.

“Win a new life?” Chatine muttered to herself and let out a bitter laugh.

Deluded fools, all of them.

She crept across the grid of overhead walkways and ramps, skillfully ducking to avoid broken water pipes and leaping over giant chasms in the grated floor. All the while, she kept a close watch on the man, making sure she was never more than a few steps behind him.

He finally slowed near Madame Dufour’s stall, pulled an apricot from his pocket, and took a large bite, the juice dripping into his beard. Chatine’s mouth started to water. She’d only ever tasted an apricot once, when a crate had fallen off the back of a cargo transporteur delivering fruit from the hothouses to Ledôme.

Chatine watched Madame Dufour size the man up with sinister fascination. The old croc was practically licking her lips at the sight of such an easy mark.

It was now or never.

Ducking under the broken railing, Chatine grabbed onto the raised rim of the walkway floor and somersaulted over the edge. She whipped her body forward, fell three mètres down, and adeptly caught the beam below her. She circled around until it rested against her hips and she could balance there.

She was now only a mètre above the man’s head. Yet with the buzz of the busy marketplace, no one even bothered to look up.

“What a pitiful sight,” the man said, taking another bite of his apricot. He didn’t even bother to hide his disgust. The Second Estate rarely did. It was something about being stuck in the middle, Chatine had always noticed—not quite rulers and yet far from being one of the wretched like her—that gave the Second Estate their shameless sense of arrogance.

They were almost more intolerable than the First Estate.

Almost.

Chatine’s gaze cut to the left, taking in the tower of empty crates stacked up next to Madame Dufour’s stall. She shimmied along the beam until she was directly above them. Then, she tipped forward, rotated around, and kicked both feet out in front of her.

The crash was louder than she anticipated. The crates toppled to the ground, avalanching around the man as he fell to his knees with a grunt.

Chatine moved quickly. Landing in a squat, she crawled through the wreckage until she found the man and graciously helped him back onto his feet. He was so busy brushing dust and cabbage leaves from his coat, he didn’t even feel the medallion being lifted from his neck.

“Are you all right, Monsieur?” Chatine asked in her friendliest tone, slipping the pendant into her pocket.

The man barely looked at her as he straightened his hat. “Quite all right, boy.”

“You must be careful in the Marsh, Monsieur. It isn’t safe for someone of your rank.”

“Merci,” he said dismissively as he tossed the apricot he’d been eating toward Chatine.

She caught it and flashed him an appreciative smile. “Vive Laterre.”

“Vive Laterre,” he echoed before turning away.

Chatine grinned at the man’s back as she turned on her heels and slipped the half-eaten apricot into her pocket. It took all her strength not to consume the entire thing here and now.

She knew the man would hardly even miss that gold medallion from his neck. He probably had ten just like it back in his manoir in Ledôme. But to her, it was everything.

It would change everything.

The wind picked up, howling through the stalls and biting viciously at Chatine’s skin. She pulled her tattered black coat tighter around her, trying in vain to stave off the chill. But the holes and ripped lining of her clothes weren’t the problem. It was the hunger—the ribs poking through her skin. There wasn’t a single shred of insulation left on her body.

But after that score, she was finding it hard to care.

As Chatine headed toward the south exit of the Marsh, weaving through stalls selling moldy potatoes, slimy leeks, and pungent seaweed dragged in from the nearby docks, there was a new lightness to her gait. A new hopefulness in her step.

But just before passing through what used to be the old cargo ship’s loading bay, Chatine felt a large hand clamp down on her shoulder and she stopped dead in her tracks, a shiver running through her.

“So nice of you to help out a member of the Second Estate,” a cold, robotic voice said. “I’ve never seen such chivalry from a Renard.”

The emphasis he placed on her last name made Chatine squirm. She closed her eyes, mustering strength, and painted on a blithe smile. She slowly turned around.

“Inspecteur Limier,” she said. “Always a pleasure.”

His stony expression didn’t change. It hardly ever did. The circuitry implants on the left side of his face made it nearly impossible for the inspecteur to express any emotion. Chatine often wondered if the man was even capable of smiling.

“I wish I could say the same for you, Théo.” His tone was flat.

Only her parents called her Chatine. Everyone in the Frets knew her as Théo. It was the name she’d given herself ten years ago, when they’d first moved to the capital city of Vallonay and Chatine had decided that life as a boy would be much less complicated than life as a girl.

Chatine clucked her tongue. “I’m sorry you feel that way, Inspecteur.”

“What did you take from the kind monsieur?” Limier asked, his half-human, half-robot voice clicking on the hard consonants.

Chatine refreshed her smile. “Whatever do you mean, Inspecteur? I know better than to steal from the hand that feeds me.”

She nearly gagged on the words. But if they saved her from a one-way ticket to Bastille—the price you paid for stealing from an upper estate—then she could choke her way through them.

Chatine held her breath as the inspecteur’s circuitry flickered on his face. He was computing the information, analyzing her words, searching for hints of perjury. Over the past ten years of living in the Frets, Chatine had learned how to lie. But lying to a human being was one thing. Lying to a cyborg inspecteur, programmed to seek the truth, was quite another.

She waited, keeping her smile taut until the circuits stopped flashing.

“Will that be all, Inspecteur?” Chatine asked, smiling sweetly while pressing her hands against her tattered black pants. Her palms were starting to sweat, and she didn’t want his heat sensors to pick up on it.

Then, slowly, Chatine watched the inspecteur’s gloved hand extend toward her. With a soft touch that chilled her to the bone, he pushed up her black hood to reveal more of her face. His electric orange eye blinked to life, scanning her features. It seemed to linger a beat too long on her high, feminine cheekbones.

Panic bloomed in her chest. Can it see who I really am?

Chatine hastily took a step back, out of the inspecteur’s reach, and yanked her hood back down. “My maman is expecting me home,” she said. “So, if you don’t mind, I’ll be going now.”

“Of course,” the inspecteur replied.

“Thank you, Inspecteur. Vive Laterre.”

As Chatine turned to leave, she felt her entire body collapse with relief. She had done it. She had fooled his sensors. She was a better liar than even she had come to believe.

“I’ll just need to check your pockets first.”

Chatine froze. She quickly surveyed her surroundings. She spotted five Policier droids in her vicinity. More than usually roamed the Marsh, due to the annual Ascension ceremony today. The droids—or bashers as they were referred to around here—stood at almost twice the size of an average man and their slate-gray exoskeletons crunched and whirred as they walked.

Chatine wasn’t afraid of them, though. She’d escaped Policier droids plenty of times. They were fast and stronger than ten men, but they still had their limitations. For instance, they couldn’t climb.

Careful not to move her head, Chatine glanced up, thanking her lucky Sols that there was an old pipe running directly over her head. She refused to get flown off to Bastille. A neighbor was currently serving three years for stealing a measly sac of turnips. A First World relic lifted off a Second Estater? She’d be looking at ten years minimum. And hardly anyone lived that long on the moon.

She slowly spun back around to face Limier. “Of course, Inspecteur. I have nothing to hide.”

Flashing another smile, Chatine stuffed her hand into her pocket and felt the medallion cool and smooth against her skin. The inspecteur once again reached a hand in her direction. Then, before he could react, Chatine hurled the apricot the monsieur had given her straight at the inspecteur’s face. His circuitry sparked as his brain tried to make sense of the incoming object. Chatine bolted, scrambling onto a table full of fabric scraps before leaping toward the pipe.

For a second, she was flying, soaring above the inspecteur, the shoppers in the Marsh, and the Policier droids who were just starting to take notice of the disturbance. As she caught the pipe, she used her momentum to circle her legs around until she was straddling the rusty, metal pole.

“Paralyze him!” Inspecteur Limier shouted to his droids, peering up at Chatine. His circuitry was going haywire, like someone had hacked the signal. “Now!”

The bashers maneuvered their bulky PermaSteel bodies around one another, assembling into attack formation. Chatine knew she had to move quickly. One rayonette pulse she could dodge, but five? That would be rough.

The pipe was too narrow to walk on, so Chatine shimmied across it on her stomach, weighing her options. The north exit was out of the question. It backed up to the Vallonay Policier Precinct, where she would certainly run into more droids. There was a catwalk about three mètres ahead of her. If she could reach it without getting shot, she could crawl the rest of the way to the east exit, back near Madame Dufour’s stall.

A split second later, she felt the heat of the first rayonette pulse whizz by the side of her face. She sucked in a sharp breath and shimmied faster. A second droid took aim below her, its shot perfectly aligned at her left knee. She braced herself for the impact. But just then, a group of drunk exploit workers stumbled through the fray, arguing about who among them had the most Ascension points stored up. One of them crashed right into the droid, and the pulse barely missed her leg.

“Oh, excuse me, Monsieur,” the drunk worker slurred to the droid, bowing ceremoniously. His friends broke out into hoots of laughter while Chatine took the opportunity to slide the rest of the way across the rusted pipe.

Thank the Sols for strong weed wine, she thought as she launched herself toward the catwalk. She caught the railing with both hands just as a third pulse was fired from below. This one glanced her left shoulder.

It wasn’t a direct hit, but it was enough. The pain was instant. Like someone had scraped her skin with a blazing-hot knife. She bit her lip to keep from crying out. The sound would only improve the droids’ aim.

Within seconds, her left arm started to lose sensation from the paralyzeur now pumping through her blood. She scrambled to swing her feet up over the ledge of the walkway but was unsuccessful. Now she was just dangling there, her feet paddling against the air.

The droids shoved people aside as they zeroed in on her location. More rayonette pulses tore past her, rippling and bending the air. It was only a matter of time before another one found its target.

Chatine knew she needed a distraction. She spotted a crate packed with chickens directly in front of her. She shook out her left arm, trying to chase away the numbness that was spreading toward her fingers, but it was no use. The paralyzeur was quickly working its way through her muscles.

Favoring her right hand, she gripped the railing as tightly as she could and pumped her legs until she’d built up enough momentum to reach the crate. She arched her body and kicked her legs out hard. The crate crashed to the ground and busted open. The chickens squawked and tried to fly away, but their useless wings barely allowed them to get off the ground.

The commotion was enough, though.

People were screaming, the stall owner was desperately trying to wrangle the loose birds, and the Policier droids fought to barrel through it all. But their efforts only managed to rile up the birds even more. They fluttered about, scraping people with their sharp claws.

The droids started firing with abandon. But with all the chaos below, their aim was poor. They hit more chickens than anything else. The birds absorbed the stun of the rayonettes and fell limp to the ground. They wouldn’t be able to move again for a few hours.

With the droids distracted, Chatine was finally able to pull herself onto the catwalk and crawl, one-handed, across the rusty, metal plank before shimmying down a support beam next to Madame Dufour’s stall.

She glanced back to see the bashers still trying to push their way through the crowd to reach her. But with the number of people in the Marsh today and the riled-up chickens, it wasn’t an easy task.

Madame Dufour glared at Chatine, her wrinkled arms folded across her chest. “Like father, like son,” she said, making a tsk sound with her teeth. “Mark my words, boy, you’ll be rotting on the moon before the end of this year.”

Chatine flashed her a goading grin before swiping a loaf of chou bread from one of Madame Dufour’s crates and darting toward the exit.

“Arrête!” The old woman’s command sounded like a croak. “Get back here, you wretched croc!”

“Thanks for breakfast!” Chatine called back in a singsong voice.

And then, before the droids could track her or Madame Dufour could catch her, Chatine was gone.

Once she’d put a good distance between herself and the marketplace, she slowed to a walk and massaged her dead arm with the opposite hand. It wasn’t the first time she’d been shot by a rayonette. And it probably wouldn’t be the last. The sensation would return soon enough.

Chatine reached into her pocket and pulled out the pendant she had lifted from the Second Estater. She sucked off the sweet apricot juice and held the medallion in her open palm, studying it. For the first time, Chatine noticed the ornate golden Sol carved into the surface. It was unlike any of the three Sols that hung in the sky of the System Divine. This was a First World Sol. Its brilliant, fiery rays flared out to the edge of the medallion. Chatine reverently clasped the pendant around her neck, a rare genuine smile creeping across her face.

She hadn’t seen the light of a Sol in nine years.

This was definitely a sign of good things to come.

Excerpted from Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell. Copyright © 2019 by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 15 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, A Week of Mondays, Boys of Summer, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the three books in the sci-fi Unremembered trilogy. She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and Unremembered and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father are currently in development as major motion pictures. She lives with her husband and four dogs and splits her time between California and Colorado.

About Joanne Rendell

Joanne Rendell is the author of three novels and holds a PhD in English literature. She teaches fiction writing to teens and kids and is a board member for the youth Shakespeare company, New Genesis Productions. With her husband and son, Joanne divides her time between New York City, and New Paltz, New York. Visit Joanne at JoanneRendell.com.

 

 

March 20th

That Artsy Reader Girl – Promotional Post

March 21st

NovelKnight – Guest Post
Andi’s ABCs – Book Spotlight
L.M. Durand – Review
Book Beach Bunny – Review + Dream Cast

March 22nd

BookCrushin – Guest Post
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Dazzled by Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review + Playlist

March 23rd

Wishful Endings – Interview
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes

March 24th

Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

March 25th

Camillea Reads – Review + Favourite Quotes

March 26th

Book Slaying – Interview
In Between Book Pages – Review + Favourite Quotes

 

Pre-order a hardcover of SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell from a participating indie bookstore* before March 26, 2019 and you’ll receive an exclusive Sky Without Stars Gift Pack, including the following:

  • A limited edition two-sided 12”x16” poster featuring the ONLY available colored version of the book’s world map
  • Sky Without Starsbookplate, signed by both authors
  • Sky Without Starspostcard
  • Sky Without Starsbookmark

The gift pack will be included with your book when it is shipped or picked up in store.

*Click here for participating stores.

 

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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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Review: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love – Sarvenaz Tash

Review: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love – Sarvenaz TashThe 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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five-stars

John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...Archie and Veronica...Althena and Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...

Archie and Veronica...

Althena and Noth...

...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, 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.

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 am smitten! Smitten with these characters; smitten with this author; smitten with this book.  I can’t really describe it. After reading Tash’s debut, Three Day Summer, I knew I would read anything she wrote. It was such a great story about human interaction at a time that seems so long ago. I loved the characters and the story telling and they heart behind it all. So when I heard about The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love it was a given I would read it. What I didn’t expect was how taken I would be by it. It was so fun and real and epic and wondrous.

The thing that I loved the most about The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, besides the characters (more on that below), is that it isn’t a coming of age book. It isn’t a book about comic nerds. It isn’t even a true love story/romance. The Geek’s Guide is a book that is real. Things in life don’t always go as planned. You don’t always win the big game, or get into the school of your dreams. You don’t always get the girl or get something you are hoping for. Life just doesn’t work that way. You have to adapt and move on and come up with a new plan or idea. Tash captured that to perfection with Graham’s story. Nothing went the poor kid’s way. Everything that could go wrong for him did, but he just kept on going. Whether he was mad or sad or hurt or happy, he just kept on going like we all have to do.

Actually Graham was the one character that made the book for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Roxy and co., but Graham was like a red headed Seth Cohen (and let’s face it Seth Cohen made geeky hot). He had this inner dialogue that just killed me. He was quirky and funny and charming. I liked him immediately and he truly made me giggle throughout the book. And his knowledge of pop-culture…OH MY GOD! So epic. Graham was the perfect kind of character to control this kind of story and I kind of love him (and the rest of them).

Basically this book was just what I needed to reminded me about the ups and downs of life and love and friendship. Sarvenez crafted a book that is so perfect (sorry Felicia) that I need everyone to read it and be smitten with me. To be honest I knew I would love it after Three Day Summer, but I didn’t know I would end up being as over the moon about it as I was. If Tash’s books are not on your radar you need to fix that immediately. She is one author that is doing great, great things. Now go and read her books!cohen

*On 6/16, I’m a stop on the Geek’s Guide blog tour. Make sure you stop by for a special ABCs that day. There will be a giveaway happening for both of Sarvenaz’s books.

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