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WWW Wednesday #41 | February 20, 2019


WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.

I didn't think I would be able to post today but I'm just managing to squeak this one in. It's my first day back at the office after a four day weekend and I am positively slammed. But I still like checking in with my WWW Wednesday posts and share what I'm reading. So here's a short and sweet version... :)

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
Vanishing Summer - Lora Richardson

Lora was kind enough to send me her upcoming YA contemporary because she knows how much I love her Juniper series, which I was just raving about in yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday post. Vanishing Summer isn't on GoodReads yet and the cover is being worked on now but I can tell you that I'm about 35% in and totally loving it. I can't wait to share more about it as the release date (March 26) gets closer! 

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?
Wild Country - Anne Bishop
I seriously did not want this one to end - because that means a year-long wait for the next book. *sobs* I loved this latest entry in The Others series. So many familiar faces that I got to know even better as well as some new additions. It's crazy how attached I get to some of these characters... I'm not just talking about the humans. This one had the feel of some of the earlier books with so much interaction between the humans and the terra indigene and I loved it.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'LL READ NEXT?
      
I'm itching to pick up a physical book after reading a couple arcs back to back. I just got Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating last weekend so that's strong possibility. Starry Eyes is another recent addition so that one's up for consideration, too.

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Great Books, Few Ratings (aka Hidden Gems)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Great Books, Few Ratings

Big thumbs up to this week's prompt. Giving some love to hidden gems. Those books that are so good and deserve a lot more attention that they get (in this case, books with fewer than 2,000 ratings on GoodReads). 

Jolene Perry
# of GoodReads ratings: 1,991

Synopsis: All they have in common is that they're less than perfect. And all they're looking for is the perfect distraction.

Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?


Granted, I have a complicated relationship with Jolene Perry. I've read others by her that I outright disliked. But that doesn't change the fact that I seriously love this one. The two main characters felt so genuine - just two regular people dealing with real-life situations and their story made a big impact on me.

Marley Jacobs
# of GoodReads ratings: 72

Synopsis: Twenty-four-year-old Nicole Fletcher is having a rough summer. The woman who raised her is dying and there’s nothing she can do about it. Nothing but find solace in the forbidden fantasies starring her best friend’s younger brother. Nic knows there are some lines you can never cross – but when it comes to “little” Landon Pike, she kind of already has. She tries to stay away but when your world is falling apart, you can’t help but fall right along with it. Good thing Landon refuses to let her fall alone.

This is new adult with depth. Yes, there's a romance, but it also deals with family and grief. Filled with wonderful characters (both main characters and secondary), great humor and banter, and a lot of heart, this one deserves so much more attention.

Katy Upperman
# of GoodReads ratings: 378

Synopsis: The last thing Elise wants is to start over in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move to a sleepy coastal village to be closer to Elise’s sister-in-law and niece.
When Elise meets Mati during a beachside walk, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town, too. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.
But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.
Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, The Impossibility of Us asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?
There were several instances where I was floored by the low number of ratings for certain books, and this is one of them. How can this book - this amazingly well-written, heartfelt gem of a book - have just 378 ratings? I don't know how this one (apparently) stayed under the radar, but that's a travesty because it is filled with emotion and tackles a timely issue so well. One of my favorites of 2018.

Renee Carlino
# of GoodReads ratings: 1,685

Synopsis: A powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically-proven chemistry.

Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio... Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.

The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.

For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection.

While this isn't necessarily my favorite by Carlino, this is still a solid read that had me 100% invested so I'm surprised it falls into the 'fewer than 2,000 ratings' range. Penny sometimes had me wanting to shake her but even so I pulled hard for her and Gavin both. Filled with bad timing, bad decisions and just bad circumstances, their friendship was so enduring and they traveled a long road together.

Martin Wilson
# of GoodReads ratings: 693

Synopsis: Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.

Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor.

And as Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself: that he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. And, even bigger: that he never told the police everything he saw the day Sam disappeared. 

As Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues, their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam, until one night when everything explodes. Beth can’t live in silence. Josh can’t live with his secrets. And Sam can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open.

This is one of those sleeper books that didn't seem to make much of a splash when it was released (in 2017). But it was a gut-wrenching read that has stayed with me. My heart broke again and again for Sam, and while this book also had a strong focus on the impact his kidnapping had on family and friends, it was Sam's own story and aftermath that had me trying to choke back the tears.


Jessica Redmerski
# of GoodReads ratings: 533

Synopsis: Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about. 

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?
.


I had exactly two 5-star reads in 2018 and this was one of them. So how is it possible that it has barely 500 ratings? This book just swallowed me whole and I felt as if I were living it all right along with Thais and Atticus. Why are more people not reading this book? Gah!


Samatha Harris
# of GoodReads ratings: 262

Synopsis: Alexandra McCabe​​ is disconnected from the world, grieving the loss of her parents...

Content with studying and keeping to herself, Alex has no interest in the campus playboy, Drew Collins, trying to get close to her. But even dousing him with beer doesn't deter the easy-going charmer, and against her better judgment, the pair fall into a reluctant friendship.

Drew is bored with college life, and Alex's romantic rejection intrigues him...

Their friendship is good for both of them, but Drew is used to getting what he wants, and he's tired of shallow sorority girls. He's much more interested in the feisty redhead, but despite his growing feeling, Alex keeps him firmly in the friend zone.

Old heartaches and new tragedies deepen a complicated relationship... (Abridged because this has the longest synopsis I've ever seen on GoodReads - just go ahead and tell the whole story why don't you? Sheesh.)


All three books in this trilogy are enjoyable but it's this first one that made the biggest impression on me. I can't say that this one is super unique or brings something new and different to the new adult/contemporary romance genre, but it still had me hooked. The blend of Samatha's writing that made every conversation ring true and two main characters who were so incredibly likable made for a real winner that deserves a lot more attention from fans of contemporary romance.


Alex Evansley
# of GoodReads ratings: 424

Synopsis: Teddy Sharpe is kind of famous. He might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he'd nailed an audition for the lead role in the movie adaption of the newest bestselling young adult book series. There's just one problem: He totally blew the audition. And he's stuck in a tiny North Carolina airport. And his maybe-ex-girlfriend kind of just broke up with him.
The weekend isn't exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell, author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to her family's lake house. Away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a few days, Teddy starts to relax . . . and somehow he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren't the subject of several dozen fanblogs, and the Internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett . . . gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.

Almost a year after reading this one and I still can't decide if it's YA or new adult. It seems to be marketed as YA but Bennett turns 18 during the course of the novel and Teddy is 20, so...  Regardless of the target audience, if you're looking for a total feel-good experience this is the one. Super likable characters and fantastic banter and humor that gave me serious Becky Albertalli vibes made this one a total treat. So why only 424 ratings? No reason I can think of because I already want more from Evansley.


Off the Ice/Breaking the Ice
Juniper Falls series
Julie Cross
# of GoodReads ratings: 595/327

Synopsis: Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love. (Synopsis is for Off the Ice. Click link above for Breaking the Ice synopsis.)


This is a contemporary YA series that deserves so much more attention. Cross has written some solid new adults titles and she excels just as well at YA. I love these characters (that carry over from book to book), I love the small town setting, I love the hockey, the story lines... I love it all. (Note: the third book in this series releases next week and my review can be found here.)


  

The Edge of Juniper/Juniper Limits/Juniper Skies
The Juniper series
Lora Richardson
# of GoodReads ratings: 215/35/21

Synopsis: Fay Whitaker, sixteen years old and yearning for adventure, is excited to spend the summer with her fearless cousin Celia in small-town Juniper, Indiana.

But Fay soon discovers that her summer home is not what she expected. She is alarmed by her uncle’s temper, and learns of the grudge he holds against the Dearing family. Celia handles the tension at home by escaping with her boyfriend, leaving Fay with time on her hands—time that leads her straight to Malcolm Dearing, off-limits because of his last name. Fay is captivated by Malcolm’s warmth and intensity. She finds that trying to stay away from him only makes her think of him more.

Fay and Celia are launched on a journey, and each must attempt to navigate the thrilling and unpredictable world of love. Everything Fay thinks she knows about love is put to the test, as relationships unfold and reveal themselves in ways she never before dreamed. Synopsis is for The Edge of Juniper. Links to others are above.)
 


I swear, everyone must be tired of me touting this series but I can't help it. This is the kind of YA I love. And more people need to be reading these books. I always say that Katie McGarry is my #1 when is comes to YA - and she is. But while her books tackle serious social issues, often in a near life or death manner, Richardson's books take a somewhat softer approach. The issues are no less important, and the emotions are no less real, and yet there is a sweetness and an innocence woven throughout that just does something for me. I adore the characters, I am invested in their lives, and I finish every one with a smile on my face and a full heart. I won't stop recommending this series... or anything else Richardson writes.

HONORABLE MENTIONS
  
    


Have you read any of these books?
What is your favorite underrated read?

The Sunday Post #142


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:


It may be mid-February, and spring may technically be a month away, but I think I can safely say that winter in Florida is OVER. It's been in the 70's all week and next week is more of the same... even hitting 80 several days. Did Florida not get the winter memo this year?


Today is day two of a... wait for it... Four. Day. Weekend. and I am loving it! Yesterday was a great start. My mom, my two sisters, my niece, and I went out to lunch and then shopping and had a fantastic day. We hit up HomeGoods, Kohl's, Pier 1, Target... good shopping and even better times just being together. We're already taking about planning another day out next month. :) The Husband attended a car show and won the top prize (and a huge trophy) for best in his class. And I came home to some awesome bookmail. Now that's a good day! :)


If you're looking to read on the cheap (i.e. free), Epic Reads has shared a pretty awesome list of ways to read online for free. Some I already knew about but many I didn't. Worth checking out!

How's your weekend? Doing anything fun?



Tuesday, February 12
Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples

Wednesday, February 13
WWW Wednesday #40

Thursday, February 14
Valentine's Book Tag

Friday, February 15
Review: On Thin Ice by Julie Cross



WHAT I READ IN THE LAST WEEK:

While this one pretty much missed the mark for me as far as main character Leah was concerned, I loved revisiting favorite characters and every single moment with Simon + Blue was magical. Review coming soon. 


WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING: 

    
I'm not exactly flying through this one but that has more to do with me not making time for reading than anything to do with the book. I am having so much fun being back in the world of The Others. It's funny to remember how literally they take things sometimes. When a character grabbed a broom before investigating a noise outside, one of the Others said, "Why do you have a broom? Brooms are for sweeping. There is nothing to sweep outside." So many moments like that give me a chuckle. 

WHAT I'M CURRENTLY LISTENING TO:

I'm down to less than 30 minutes in this audio book and I've loved every minute. It's reminded me of how very much I loved Fiona and Nick and their story. The kinda-sorta paranormal aspect was woven in so well. I'll be sorry to finish this one!


PHYSICAL BOOKS:

    
Okay, for everyone who has been expressing shock that I haven't read this one and absolutely insisting gently nudging me to read it, it's finally in my hands! This will happen SOON! :)

KINDLE BOOKS: 

     
Transcendence looks like nothing I would ever pick up on my own, but I've had several trusted blogger friends swear that I would love it. We shall see... 

   





How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Review: On Thin Ice by Julie Cross

On Thin Ice 
Julie Cross
Publication date: February 26, 2019
Series: Juniper Falls #3
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Source: Entangled Teen and NetGalley
Brooke Parker never expected to find herself in the tiny town of Juniper Falls, Minnesota. Of course, she also never expected to lose her dad. Or for her mom to lose herself. Brooke feels like she’s losing it…until she finds Juniper Falls hockey. Juniper Falls girls’ hockey, that is.

Jake Hammond, current prince of Juniper Falls, captain of the hockey team, and player with the best chance of scoring it big, is on top of the world. Until one hazing ritual gone wrong lands him injured, sitting on the sidelines, and―shocking even to him―finding himself enjoying his “punishment” as assistant coach for the girls’ team.

As Jake and Brooke grow closer, he finds the quiet new girl is hiding a persona full of life, ideas, and experiences bigger and broader than anything he’s ever known. But to Jake, hockey’s never just been a game. It’s his whole life. And leveraging the game for a shot at their future might be more than he can give.

Brooke’s life has fallen apart and she’s been uprooted from Texas to her grandmother’s home in Juniper Falls. Her mother is a shell of the person she used to be and Brooke feels totally on her own in this hockey-obsessed town. When she witnesses a hazing ritual that goes too far, she has local hockey star Jake Hammond seeking her out asking for her silence. Joining the new girl’s hockey team means she’s seeing a lot more of Jake and her determination to keep her head down and just get by doesn’t seem to be working.

Jake’s life has always centered around hockey and now, as a senior and captain of the team, his future seems set and everything he’s worked for is just within reach. All of that is in jeopardy when a freshman teammate is hospitalized, and all fingers are pointing to Jake. With mounting pressure from his father and his coach, Jake starts to question the "win at all cost" mentality of those around him and must choose between doing what’s right or doing what’s expected of him.

I thoroughly enjoyed Cross’s previous two entries in the Juniper Falls series. Her characters are usually well-developed and dealing with real life issues that are relatable. Plus, there’s plenty of swoony romance. In On Thin Ice there is a heavy focus on school athletics and the toxic environment that can develop when those in charge lose sight of the individual players and winning is the only goal. This often meant Jake was the linchpin at the expense of the development of Brooke’s character. Her background remained largely a blank slate and issues with her mother were glossed over.  Even so, I was invested in Jake’s situation found myself wanting to give him gentle nudges to do the right thing. And while it seemed most of the adults and authority figures in his life had questionable ethics, I loved that his uncle Oz, also the town sheriff, was a steady force and was unwavering in his determination to make things right.

While this is the third in a series of companion novels, readers won’t have a problem if this is their first visit to Juniper Falls. There’s enough exposition to fill in the blanks. Those who have enjoyed the previous books will appreciate revisiting characters they already know – Haley, Fletcher, Claire and Tate are all there (and here’s a big cheer for Mike Steller’s role!) – and catch up with the latest in this small town. My hope is that Cross continues this series because I’m still wanting more of this cast of characters I’ve come to know and love.

4/5 STARS

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.

Valentine's Book Tag (2019)



I was searching for a fun tag to do for Valentine's and came across this one. 
I'm not sure of the original creator but I found it here.


standalone book you love

A standalone? What is this strange thing you speak of? Do authors still write standalones? I guess I do still read some of those rare breeds and to be all extra I'll even choose one with "love" in the title. Who Do You Love spanned several years and followed two people who I loved and pulled for.

dystopian book you love

I don't talk about this book enough but I seriously loved it. It was one of my favorites last year and received my oh-so-rare five star rating (which is so rare that it's like a rainbow-colored unicorn with sprinkles). This dystopian/post-apocalyptic tale from Jessica Redmerski had me utterly captivated.

a book you love but no one else talks about

I'm going to use this opportunity to sing the praises of a YA contemporary book/trilogy that deserves so much more love and attention. Lora Richardson is just wonderful and she filled this book with everything I love about contemporary YA. 

favorite book couple

I literally just did a Top Ten Tuesday post on my favorite couples. Am I supposed to magically come up with another couple just two days later? Yes? Okay then, I'll go with Ridge and Sydney. I adored these two and felt like my heart hurt right along with theirs as they found their way together. 

a book other people love but you haven't read yet

How is it that I haven't read this? I mean, seriously, what am I doing with my life?

a book with red on the cover

Sure, plenty of things in this one had me rolling my eyes, and America has to be the most annoying character ever, but I still had fun being Team Maxon.

a book with pink on the cover

I read this one back in December and oh my goodness did it ever leave my heart bruised and battered. I mean, just the synopsis had me feeling all weepy, so you can imagine what actually reading it did to me. But it was also super hopeful and left me with a smile on my face.

you're given a box of chocolates.
which fictional boyfriend gives them to you?

First of all, do I even need to answer this one? Do we all not know that my heart belongs to Daemon Black? If not, are you new here?? Secondly, any worthy book boyfriend would know that I don't even particularly like chocolate (yeah, yeah, it's true, now let's move along). But I wouldn't turn down a cookie from Daemon...



you're single on valentine's day.
what book would you read?
what tv show would you watch?
what movie would you watch?
     

First, I'm curious why I'm single. Where did my husband go? Is he trapped under something heavy? Is he away on a secret mission? I'm a bit concerned but for the sake of the tag...
Book: I'll reread Wait For You because Cam + Avery always give me all the feels.
TV: Meh. I don't watch TV so moving on... 
Movie: Love Actually. Nevermind that it's set at Christmastime. Minor details. It's funny and swoony and makes me happy.

you're in a bookstore when you get shot by cupid's arrow. what new release will you love?

It'll break my heart... but I'll love it.


no matter how you spend the day...
 happy valentine's day!