Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: Between Us and The Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Title: Between Us and The Moon
Author: Rebecca Maizel
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 30th, 2015
Pages: 384 (eGalley)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon Author 

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett. 

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

The start of Sarah's summer isn't ideal.  In fact, she's blindsided by her boyfriend's decision to break up.  Suddenly, her annual escape to Cape Cod is much more needed than she could have imagined.  She's always known that she isn't like most other girls, especially her older sister Scarlett.  Scarlett is the type of girl that guys want and girls dream of becoming.  Sarah just studies meteors through the lens of her telescope.  Over the summer, Sarah decides to take some tips from her sister just to see what happens.  She never imagined falling for an older boy because of it.

Sarah had her summer all mapped out.  She was going to focus on her studies, but when she meets Andrew, her plans get away from her.  Although she's dressing more like her sister and giving off more confidence than she normally would, what keeps him interested in her is the fact that she's everything most girls aren't.  She's nerdy, quirky and different, and it's very clear from the start that Andrew is interested in that.  For the most part, Sarah doesn't lie to him, but what lie she does tell is a big one.  She's tells him that she's about to start college, when in reality, she's only 16 and he's almost 20 years old.

Sometimes it's hard to read books where relationships are formed from a lie, but I actually really loved this story.  Sarah was smart, but she was still immature and insecure, which is pretty realistic for someone her age.  She grows a lot over the course of this story, not only in accepting herself, but by taking responsibility for her actions.  Looking past her lie, the bond that forms between Sarah and Andrew is a great one.  He's everything you hope for in a summer romance and the connection they had made me hold onto hope, even though I had an idea of how things would end.  It's complicated and messy, but there was something there that had great potential.

Between Us and The Moon is an awesome summer read.  One of my favorite things about this book is that the author doesn't shy away from making the romance as realistic as possible, including passionate scenes between the couple that will make your own skin tingle.  While I don't think that this book will be for everyone, it's great for fans of wonderfully written coming-of-age stories.
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Review: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Title: A Million Miles Away
Author: Lara Avery
Publisher: Poppy
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary Romance
Release date: July 7th, 2015
Pages: 320 (eGalley)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads | Amazon Author 

When high school senior Kelsey's identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn't know about the tragedy is Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can't bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister. 

As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can't deny that she's falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn't want.

Michelle is wild and passionate.  When she brings another stray home, Kelsey rolls her eyes.  She doesn't even need to meet Peter to know that her sister will end up heartbroken again until she moves onto the next.  Kelsey realizes that she misjudged the situation, because it becomes very clear that they care for each other deeply in a way that she's never seen before.  Peter ships out to Afghanistan first thing in the morning, but Michelle never returns home after driving him to the airport.

When Kelsey receives the news that her twin sister has passed away, one of the first things on her mind is Peter.  He needed to know, but she had no way to contact him.  She didn't know where his base was, and she didn't even know his last name.  Her parents dealt with their grief in a completely different way, so although Kelsey still had them and her friends, she began to feel completely alone.  That is, until one night, Peter contacted her.

I liked Kelsey.  I could relate to her when it comes to losing a loved one, but I can't imagine how painful it had to be to even look at herself in the mirror and be reminded of what she's lost.  It's very easy to understand why she would do what she did and lead Peter to believe that she was Michelle.  She didn't want to let her sister go, either.  Soon, he became the only person that she could truly connect with.  He admits that she's what's giving him strength, and she decides that the best time to tell him would be when he's no longer in danger.  Unfortunately, the entire situation spins out of control very quickly and Kelsey begins to lose her footing.

A Million Miles Away is about the struggle of losing a loved one and losing yourself.  The grief that the family went though and relationship between Kelsey and Peter were both very realistic.  Although there's so much deception within these pages, you can't help but root for them, because it's clear that she's not lying to be malicious.  This is a quick, yet wonderful, read that will leave you with many emotions.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June Wrap-Up and July TBR

I'm not doing very well when it comes to following a schedule!  I just keep picking up books that I didn't put on my TBR, so this month I'll try to be more flexible.

Anyway, June was a good month for me!  I turned 23 on the 16th and I was able to finish some great stories.

The books I managed to read in June:
-Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
-Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
-The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
-Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
-The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
-A Million Miles Away be Lara Avery

I've been reading books faster than I can review them. which has become a bad habit, since I'm pretty far behind at the moment.

The books I plan to read in July:

Keeping the list so short, I'm not setting myself up for failure and I actually have the room to pick and choose books from my shelves or anything I might get in the mail!  Maybe I'll even get around to reading some books I never got to in June!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Title: The Night We Said Yes
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 16th, 2015
Pages: 304 (eGalley)
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon | Author 

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life. 

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan. 

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of. 

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

One summer night, Ella meets a boy who turns her world upside down. They share 12 hours together that they'll never forget, a night that sparks a romance between the two that lasts for months, but then Matt leaves without so much as a goodbye.  Everyone who grew fond of Matt feels his betrayal, but not like Ella.  Without closure, she can't move on.  When Matt returns, everyone struggles to forget the past 6 months and the pain they were put through when he disappeared, so they decide to relive the night that they said yes to everything.

This book takes place over the span of one night, but the chapters alternate between Then and Now.  Seeing how the characters have changed now that so much has happened between them kept me interested.  I wanted to find out why Matt just left and cut off all contact with his friends the way that he did, because I could definitely relate to Ella.  As for the characters, I felt that most of them were just a little immature for me to really connect with.

The Night We Said Yes took me almost a month to get through, despite being a shorter book.  When I picked it up, nothing stood out.  Once I finally finished it, I felt that it was a good story, but there are just more exciting books that I could have been reading instead.  While Ella and Matt were the sweet couple, Meg and Jake were the most interesting to read about.  Their relationship wasn't the healthiest, but they had the kind of romance that you hope the best for.

Overall, this was a nice story about four best friends, second chances, and a night of fond memories.  Saying "yes" to everything is what originally brought them all together, so when they're given the opportunity to relive the best moments, they see if it helps them remember what they'd forgotten.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #97

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on! 

Title: The Boy Most Likely To
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house 

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters. 

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. 

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.  
And Alice is caught in the middle.

I was a huge fan of Huntley Fitzpatrick's debut novel, My Life Next Door.  Finally, readers get a companion novel and its release can't come soon enough!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?