Tag Archive | Contemporary Romance

Review: I’ll Give You The Sun

Title: I’ll Give You The Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Date of Publication: September 16th, 2014

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Goodreads Summary:

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

My review:

This is the second book I’ve read of Jandy’s. I did like The Sky is Everywhere better but this one came pretty dang close!

I loved the back and forth past and present POVs between the siblings! Noah and Jude were both selfish, loveable, complex, and amazing! What I loved best about them was that they were both human and humans make mistakes, but you can also grow from your mistakes. So I really liked seeing those changes and character growth as the story unfolded.

The romances were both adorable too! And my goodness the writing! The writing was perfection! The only thing I would have wanted was an epilogue from Noah’s POV! I still need that epilogue!!!!!!!

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Do you prefer the sun or the moon?

Review: The Sky is Everywhere

Title: The Sky is Everywhere

Author: Jandy Nelson

Date of Publication: March 9th, 2010

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Goodreads Summary:

Adrift after her sister Bailey’s sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey’s boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs… though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.

Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.

As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.

My Review:

I always say that contemporary books are the hardest for me because it’s hard for me to find a truly great one. And this one for me was one of those truly great ones! I adored every single emotional and quirky minute of it!

I could so connect with Lennie’s struggles and the stupid things she did at times, but they made sense why she did them. If I was in her position, I would have done them too! I love both Joe and Toby. They were just such great characters. Same goes for Big and Grams. They all just felt so real!

This was a story about healing, falling in love, and discovering who you are. Life isn’t perfect and we all just do the best we can. I also loved the little written notes inside the book before some of the chapters! Seriously I’m super hungover from this one!

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What’s a book you’ve read years later after its release?

Cover Reveal: Our Last Chance

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Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

Date of Publication: December 15th, 2020

Rule one: Soccer is life.

Rule two: Forget boy drama.

Rule three: Stay out of Trouble.

Lana Reyes has no intention of breaking her own rules for senior year. That is until she doesn’t get her soccer scholarship—the one and only shot of getting out of her small town. With only one more showcase to make a name for herself, she needs help to increase her speed and agility—a skill set touted by her ex-crush and hottest guy at school.

Dylan Cadwell’s perfect spirals and chiseled features can’t erase the struggles he faces at home or in the classroom. With failing grades and parents who engage in constant yelling matches, the dream of playing college football is his only escape—one that could easily slip through his fingers if his lackluster grades aren’t pulled up immediately. If he loses a full-ride scholarship, he’s destined to be stuck in their small town forever.

When Lana and Dylan discover each other’s situation, they hatch a plan: He’ll train her; she’ll tutor him. It’s a seamless strategy, designed to help each other keep their eye on the prize—until rekindled feelings emerge and the greatest prize of all could be the love playing out between them.

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What is your favorite contemporary book?

As Much As I Ever Could: Release Day + Author Interview + Excerpt

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Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.

She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach.

All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.
She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit.

CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.

As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?

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Excerpt:

A summer away at Memaw’s can’t rectify everything that fell apart in a single minute, but that won’t stop my dad from forcing it on me.

My fingers wrench tighter around the handle grip of Dad’s Ford Explorer as he hugs the center line, tires thumping over golden reflectors in waves and shooting vibrations through my seat. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the door lock is crammed to its neck into the tan vinyl interior. Not that it’d make a difference if he were to flip this thing head-over-end into the muddy goop of tidal flats along either side of the road. If a body’s going to exit a car in a hurry, it sure as hell won’t wait for an unlocked door.

These kinds of thoughts never shoved their way into my brain before the accident. Now they circulate like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle.

I sigh and yank my phone off the dashboard. 4:15 PM. Only ten more minutes to get my summer of hell underway.

A notification blinks on the home screen. One new email from Trent Casey and all I can see of it is “CJ, things have changed so much this last year that I think…” Inbox preview cruelty at its finest. A little sneak peek of my on-again, off-again boyfriend kicking me to the curb because I’ve been too screwed up to screw him the past year. Not that I’d screwed him before, or anyone else for that matter.

I toss the phone in the cup holder and stare over at my dad in the driver’s seat, his eyes fixed and hooded as if in a trance. He hasn’t spoken in over a hundred miles, but I’ve strategically coughed from time to time to make sure there’s at least a reaction to the noise, and he’s not comatose or something. Plus, it’s easier than actually talking, and it warrants no response from him. Win-win.

Dad flips on the blinker, its dink-doonk, dink-doonk, dink-doonk signaling a right turn. Into where I have no idea, and unless Memaw has taken up living in a dilapidated open-air shack, he’s seriously misguided. He pulls into one of the ten open parking slots, demarcated by rows of conch shells instead of actual painted-on lines. How beachy of them.

Dad lets the engine idle, sliding his phone from the pocket of his polo and pecking out a text message without so much as a word or glance in my direction. I unlatch my seatbelt and open the door, easing out onto the hot, gritty sand, which creeps into my sandals and scratches at the skin.

“Where are we?” When he doesn’t respond, I step beside the open door, banging my hand on the window. “Dad, where are we?”

“Edisto Island, of course,” he mumbles, never looking up from his phone, his fingers still moving furiously over the screen.

I point to the rectangular banner draped atop the entrance with what looks like a hand-stenciled Welcome to Edisto Beach, SC! in blue paint. “No shit. I mean, what is this place?”

“Watch your mouth, CJ. I’m still your father.” He finally looks up long enough to glare across his steering wheel at the banner, squinting as if it’s written in some foreign language before looking back at me. He waves his hand around. “We’re obviously at the market.”

The entrance isn’t a single open-close door but one of those garage-style deals that pulls down from the ceiling. Oyster shell wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. I take a deep breath, the briny air expanding in my lungs and coating my skin, and somehow start imagining myself as one of those slugs we used to find on the back porch at home and pour salt over. Almost immediately, their slimy little bodies would foam up and implode, turning into a dried-up crispie we’d flick off in the grass the next day. Maybe that’ll happen to me, and I can simply shrivel up and disappear.

Dad gets out and lifts the back hatch, and I walk to meet him, giving an extra foot shake on each step to loosen the stowaway sand from my sandals.

“But why are we here?”

“This is where Memaw’s picking you up.” He hauls out my two large suitcases and sets them under the overhang. “She’s running late, but she’ll be here within the next twenty minutes.”

“And you’re just gonna leave me here?” I thumb over my shoulder.

He stares at me as if I’ve just asked for an explanation on the meaning of life, standing like a statue except for the front flip of his thinning auburn hair that tousles with the breeze. That hair, along with his chocolate brown eyes and freckles, are the only things we even share anymore. Everything else is gone. Evaporated.

“Don’t be dramatic, CJ. I have a long drive home.” He slams the hatch, walks to his still-open driver door and slides in behind the wheel. The passenger window rolls down part-way. “I’ll see you at the end of summer. Bye.” The words scarcely exit his lips before the window’s rolled up and he’s peeling out of the parking lot on two wheels as if he’s off to a five-alarm fire.

Wow. Truly heartfelt. I think he might miss me. I lock my jaw, forcing my quivering stomach back in its rightful place. Part of me loathes him for just dumping me here. The other part understands, though. He hates me for what happened and wants me gone too.

I can’t blame him for that.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

What inspired you to write As Much As I Ever could?

It really started out as the inspiration in a theme that stirred around in my mind after listening to two songs in particular: Drive by Incubus and Drive by The Cars. I knew I wanted it to involve a tragic car accident (this is one of my worst fears!) and dealing with survivor’s guilt and finding beauty in the aftermath of tragedy. Of course I wanted the ideal hero who could pull my emotionally-wrought heroine out of her funk and that’s where the idea came into play…a girl afraid to drive? Who is her complete opposite? A race car driver, of course! That’s how the idea rooted and sort of grew from that point.

Who is your favorite character in As Much As I Ever Could and why?

I really should say one of the main characters right, but no…it’s Memaw! I mean, her character just sort of grew from a seed of an idea that I wanted her to be “smart, sassy, and a bit bad-assy” and wow…she became a unique blend of Blanche Devereaux (Golden Girls) and Ouiser Boudreaux (Steel Magnolias). She is the catalyst through which the summer happens for CJ and Jett, and can I just say that I hope I can one day be this sort of grandma?

What is it like releasing a sophomore book?

It’s a weird mix of not-as-stressful-as-debut and way-more-stressful-than-debut. I know, I’m a paradox in pants! LOL The debut novel is all excitement and nervousness in a whirlwind because you don’t know really what to expect and you’re just doing what you can and what you’re told to do. With the sophomore book, you know what works and what doesn’t. You have a better idea of how and where to spend your time promoting and working for the release. However, you also already have a goal to beat…I mean, who wants to release a second book that doesn’t outperform the first? There’s a reason people fear the dreaded “sophomore slump” and it does hang over your head sometimes like a dark shadow. However, I do my best just to focus on the positives and the fun side of it—people will be reading my book shortly and I LOVE CJ and Jett so I’m ecstatic to share them with everyone.

What do you like best about writing contemporary?

I am “that girl” who dropped her philosophy class in college because I couldn’t bring myself to comprehend what I felt was the professor’s insanity. (Do we really know what time it is? Or did everyone’s watch stop at 10 o’clock last night?) I’m thoroughly grounded in the here and now and prefer telling stories about the current issues going on with teens and our world in a “real Earth” setting. All you fantasy lovers don’t freak out on me…I do read grounded fantasy and magical realism, just not the high fantasy. Besides, I have teenagers in my house so writing from their daily experiences is also right up my alley!

What are your top three contemporary books ever?

Ack! How can I narrow them down?

  1. Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson
  2. The Prince of Tides – Pat Conroy
  3. The Summer I Turned Pretty – Jenny Han

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m about at 50/50 blend of each. I start out with a theme, plot my biggest turning points and scenes and then fill in the rest as it comes. If the plot or characters ever feel as if they’re taking me in a different direction, I’m not opposed to following it. Sometimes they know better than me!

Who is your favorite author and why?

I’m not going to lie—I grew up a total VC Andrews junkie. Holy Southern drama and family dynamics! That’s also why I probably have always enjoyed Pat Conroy novels as well. If we’re going to kick it more contemporary, though, I’d have to say that I devour anything from Morgan Matson because she can tap into those delicious deep feels!

Did you already know a lot about race car driving before writing As Much As I Ever Could?

Growing up in the South, I can’t remember many Sundays when “the race” wasn’t on the den’s television. It was just the tradition. That being said, I was never one to really sit and watch it. I’m more of a football girl in real life. So when I started writing AMAIEC, I did have to do a bit of research on the ins and outs of racing and I watched hours of YouTube videos of NASCAR crashes to accurately write the crash scene.

What’s your favorite color?

I love so many colors, but I’d have to say blue and orange are my favorites. They both have a very different appeal, though both emotionally-set. Blues are calm, serene and oranges are happy and powerful. If I had to narrow down the exact hues, I’d say sapphire blue and Clemson orange.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I could fill up several blog pages with this! I’ll keep it short and simple: 1. Read in your genre 2. Google for resources and learn as much as you can 3. Find some trusted critique partners and get their feedback on your work 4. Never give up. This career isn’t easy, but it’s fun. And rewarding!

 

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Did you grab your copy of As Much As I Ever Could?

 

Avocado Bliss .99 sale + more!

Hey guys! Guess what! Avocado Bliss is on sale for .99 for a limited time! I hope you guys check out this fun and emotional story full of pitfalls and bliss!

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo

Avocado Bliss Cover

Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.

Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.

For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss.

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Photo Credit

My good author friend, James J. Cudney, is also having some amazing .99 sales on these awesome books!

Father Figure * Flower Power Trip * Mistaken Identity Crisis

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Did you grab your copy of Avocado Bliss?

Avocado Bliss Release Day!

Avocado Bliss is officially out in the world today! This book means a lot to me because Type 1 diabetes is a big factor in my life! But this story has more than that! It’s a journey with fun times too! Hope you guys check it out my and Gerardo’s story!

Purchase: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo

Avocado Bliss Cover

Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.

Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.

For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss.

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Where would you like to take a road trip to?

Review: Chasing Lucky

Title: Chasing Lucky

Author: Jenn Bennett

Date of Publication: May 5th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

Josie Saint-Martin is well-versed in the art of concealment. Bullied as a child, she’s spent most of her life with her single mother, moving from city to city, covering up what she doesn’t want others to see, comfortable behind the lens of her favorite vintage camera . . .until Josie’s grandmother dies and they return to her mother’s historical New England hometown to run the family bookstore. There, Josie pulls off the ultimate camouflage: dating Adrian, the Harvard-bound son of the most influential man in town.

But her smokescreen is blown when Adrian breaks up with her during his high school graduation party, and Josie’s poorly executed act of revenge lands her big-time trouble—jail alongside the last person she’d want to share a mugshot with: the mysterious and brooding son of the boat mechanic next door, Lucky Karras.

Forced to spend the summer together in mandatory community service, Josie and Lucky become the talk of their coastal town—shamed, trolled, and publicly disgraced. The weird thing is, Josie starts to not mind, because the pair have more in common than she once thought. A lotmore. But during a summer of secrets, in a town built on gossip, everything rises to the surface. Can Josie and Lucky swim past these obstacles, or will they both go down together?

My Review:

I’m never let down when I read a Jenn Bennett contemporary so my expectations were pretty high when I started Chasing Lucky! And luckily, it was just as awesome as all her other contemporaries!

I really liked Josie and being in her head. She had an interesting back story with her secretive mom. Also, as a side note, I’d like a book on Josie’s mom! Anyway, Josie was a photographer and I connected to her right away!

Lucky was the most adorable little thing ever. He has baggage and I wanted to give him a hug. I really liked his connection with Josie and when they were on the pages together, they lit them up!

Bennett writes the best dialogue and banter and I just want her to write contemporaries forever!

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What’s your favorite contemporary book?

Cover Reveal: Avocado Bliss

Avocado Bliss Cover

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Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.

Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.

For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss.

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Did you add Avocado Bliss to your TBR on Goodreads?

Review: If You Only Knew

Title: If You Only Knew

Author: Prerna Pickett

Date of Publication: February 11th, 2020

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Goodreads Summary:

Corey has just been released from jail, and all he wants is a new beginning. But when his former gang comes knocking, Corey agrees to vandalize the home of Kent Hopper, the prosecutor who put him away.

To erase the guilt she carries from getting away with a crime, Tessa spends most of her nights riding her motorcycle. When she catches Corey destroying her father’s car, she doesn’t see a criminal: She sees a way to finally right her own wrongs. So instead of turning Corey over to the police, she convinces her father to give Corey a second chance.

As Tessa and Corey spend more time with each other, it becomes difficult to ignore the pull between them. But they’re both keeping secrets, and when those secrets come to light, they’ll each have to face their demons in order to have a future together.

My Review:

So I actually read Prerna’s short story in Love in Main and I loved it. I remember seeing her upcoming book on Edelweiss and decided to download it. I’m super picky with contemporary so I’m hard to please!

But! I loved it! It was very character driven with an interesting gang concept. And  Corey and Tessa were my little babies! Their chemistry was on fire!

The dialogue was fun and the serious moments mingled in very well! I explode with happiness when there’s a mixture of this! Can’t wait to read more from this author!

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What’s your favorite contemporary book?