Top Ten Tuesday: Where Were You When I Needed You?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 
With it being back to school time I'm using this week's Top Ten Tuesday to share the books I wish were around when I was in school. I was in junior high and high school in the 80's and it was like the Dark Years of YA. There was not the amazing variety of YA awesomeness that there is now. That was around the time the Sweet Valley High book series started but for some reason I never read a single one. Instead I went for the Sweet Dreams teen romance books (so cheesy and squeaky clean) but my go-to authors were Norma Klein and Lois Duncan and some Lois Lowry. It wasn't until years later that the YA genre really exploded and became more inclusive, more realistic, more wide-ranging. I'm so envious of those who were actually the target audience when the YA genre exploded and became what it is now. Here are some of the books I wish were around when I was still in school.

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
Oh to have experienced this a teenager. I'm sure the feels would have multiplied exponentially. On the downside, book fandoms were not exactly a thing back in the day so I would have missed out on fangirling with others about important things like Team Edward or Team Jacob. (The correct answer was Team Edward, obviously.)

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
Had I read this when I was in school I think I would have fallen in love with Eleanor & Park just as much as I did as an adult. Eleanor's awkward encounters at school and on the bus would have struck a chord with me and I would have wished madly for a Park in my life.

Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty
This book, and the entire Jessica Darling series, would have been such a "me" book back then. I would have totally related to Jessica's conflicting feelings of not wanting to conform to the shallowness and pettiness of the school cliques but also feeling left out. 

Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry 
I swear if I'd had Katie McGarry's books in my life when I was in high school I might have been a happier girl. Katie's books would have given me a look at lives far different from my own and provided a reality check. Plus they are just amazing stories that I would have loved.

Everything Everything - Nicola Yoon
I'd love to know what a teenage Tanya would have made of Maddy's story in Everything Everything. I'm wondering how my feelings about her illness, her outlook and her mother might have been different.

Obsidian - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Raise your hand if you're surprised at this one. I mean, hello, do you know me at all? Daemon Black could have been my book boyfriend before I knew there was such a thing as book boyfriends. 

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison
I think I would have loved reading about Georgia Nicolson and her adventures. I don't remember reading too many truly funny books in school so this would have been a much needed break.

City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Yes! I just know that I would have fallen in love with this series had it been around when I was in school. I would have been utterly captivated by the Shadowhunter world and my imagination would have latched on to this series and not let go. I'm betting I would have become a bit obsessed with it. :)

Emmy & Oliver - Robin Benway
For some strange reason I had quite a fear of being kidnapped as a kid (don't ask, I was a strange kid) so Emmy & Oliver, with its tale of parental abduction, would have caught my attention. My heart would have hurt for Oliver and I would have been envious of the amazing friendships. 

My Life with the Walter Boys - Ali Novak
I'm fairly certain I would have fallen hard for My Life with the Walter Boys. I would have envisioned myself as main character Jackie - a tragic character (in my teenaged mind, not actually in the book) that was recently orphaned (horrific!) and sent to live with a family with 11 sons (equal parts horrific and dreamy!). I would have placed myself in the starring role and daydreamed endlessly about which boy would fall madly in love with me. (I had a flair for drama, in case you couldn't tell.)
What book do you wish had been around when you were in school - or just have read earlier in life?

The Sunday Post #23

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:

Happy weekend! It was a busy, productive week at the office and it was good to leave on Friday feeling so accomplished. The weekend has been a good one, even though nothing particularly exciting happened. The Husband was at a car show Saturday and won another trophy (this is practically a weekly occurrence). It was close-by so I went and stayed a few minutes but the 90-something degree heat and humidity had me waving buh-bye pretty quickly. So I left and went shopping. :) 

I'm excited about a new Freebie Friday feature starting this week. I've done some weeding out of my bookshelves - books I'll never read again, or just won't read, period - and I'll be offering them up for grabs every Friday. I get some much needed bookshelf space and someone gets a new book. Win-win!

I received a Book Outlet order a few days ago that I was super excited about. Book Outlet can be hit or miss for me but I sure had some great finds this time around! Opening that box was like Christmas and I came close to hugging all the books. :)

Monday, August 22: The final book in the Thatch series by Molly McAdams released this past week and on Monday I shared my thoughts on Show Me How. While it wasn't my favorite in the trilogy (that goes to book #2, To the Stars) it was still completely enjoyable and the epilogue got me a little choked up. I'm a sucker for a good epilogue. 

Tuesday, August 23: Top Ten Tuesday was all about the books that have been on my TBR from before I started blogging - and there were plenty to choose from. But I shared the ten that are the ones I've wanted to read for ages and yet (for whatever reasons) still haven't read. And I loved chatting it up in the comments because everyone had an opinion on what I need to read NOW. :)

Wednesday, August 24: Top 5 Wednesday had me sharing the books I plan to read by the end of the year. For realsies. Mark my words, it's gonna happen. (Disclaimer: At this time the author would like to add that many factors can effect the ultimate outcome of this intended goal. Everyone knows there are numerous books waiting out there with the express intention of making a mockery of any plan put into effect. Thank you and goodnight.)

Saturday, August 27: Yesterday I shared my review of Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan. I really did enjoy the story overall and will continue with the trilogy, but, because I had been expecting a new adult novel, I found myself hyper aware of all the high school drama/angst. Which led to the question, do expectations ever change how you feel about a book? And in my case, the answer seems to be yes!


The Crown's Game (audio) - Evelyn Skye
The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (audio) - Ann Brashares

I *loved* The Crown's Game! And listening to it on audio with all the Russian accents really pulled me into the story and the setting. Total grabby hands for the next book... in nine months. *sobs*

Some Kind of Perfect - Krista & Becca Ritchie

I'm loving this final book in the Addicted series. Hard. But I'm finding myself reading it in small bits and pieces just because I don't want it to end. 


Under the Lights - Abbi Glines
Forever, Interrupted - Taylor Jenkins Reid
Forgiving Lies - Molly McAdams
Whatever Life Throws at You - Julie Cross
Best Kind of Broken - Chelsea Fine
Perfect Kind of Trouble - Chelsea Fine
Right Kind of Wrong - Chelsea Fine
Dead of Winter - Kresley Cole

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)

Review: Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Series: Breathing #1

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Release Date: May 2011

Format: Trade Paperback

Source: Purchased

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


"No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?"

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection while pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises - not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth - but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

Reason to Breathe is an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope.

My Thoughts

I'll start by saying that Reason to Breathe was not what I was expecting. And I'm sure I allowed that to somewhat color my feelings for the book. For some reason I had been convinced for years (ever since I first bought a copy and placed it on my bookshelf where it sat for at least two years) that this was a new adult book. So I was geared up for plenty of grown-up relationships and drama. However, Reason to Breathe is decidedly young adult and instead provided plenty of high school relationships and drama. Not a bad thing but, like I said, I was totally expecting something else and I spent the entire book trying to adjust.

Sixteen year old Emma lives a life of secrets. With her mother unable to care for her, she lives with her aunt and uncle. Instead of a stable home life, away from the chaos of life with her alcoholic mother, she endures constant verbal and physical abuse from her aunt who resents her very presence. Emma refuses to report the abuse for fear that her young cousins would suffer the consequences and lose a mother who, to them, is loving and caring.

I survived by keeping my emotions in check - by maintaining my composure and tucking it all away. - Emma
Then the handsome and persistent Evan enters her life and suddenly Emma is willing to risk the delicate balance she maintains in order to experience the headiness of a new relationship. Evan was a sweetheart and it felt completely realistic that Emma would be willing to risk so much for a chance at some normalcy and excitement. Her friend Sara, initially the only one who knew the secret of Emma's home life and having been sworn to secrecy, was a good friend and did what she could to help Emma. However, there did come a point where I wished Sara would ignore Emma's demands and just tell someone. As the abuse at home escalated, and Emma remained resolute to keep the peace and just bide her time until she could leave, I was desperate for her situation to change by any means necessary.
My world was delicately balanced, but the scales never hung even. When something improved, something else had to crumble. Accepting this would be the hardest thing I'd ever had to learn, and even when I came to know it as true, it still crushed me. - Emma
My issue with Reason to Breathe is that often it seemed the relationship drama took center stage over the very serious abuse happening behind closed doors at home. I loved that Emma was getting a small taste of freedom, spending time with Evan, going to parties with her friends - but chapter after chapter would go by with her home life being glossed over and all the focus on time spent with Evan, jealousies over other girls, and other drama that seemed petty in comparison to what Emma was dealing with at home. This may be a by-product of my initial thoughts that this was a new adult novel and so the high-drama of the high school set felt more pronounced, but it's something I noticed again and again.

I enjoyed Emma as a character and admired her strength and self-sacrifice (even though she took the self-sacrifice to dangerous lengths). And Evan was such a wonderful addition to Emma's life. Once he started to suspect/know what was happening to Emma he was desperate to protect her. This wasn't a case of knight-in-shining-armor or boy-saves-the-day but just a boyfriend horribly worried about his girlfriend and feeling helpless to make her safe. There was a definite push and pull to their relationship. Emma was determined to keep Evan at arm’s length in order to keep her home life a secret, but at the same time she was craving the closeness and the genuine care and love that Evan had for her.

"I love that picture," he admitted softly. "I think it's because I love the girl in that picture." - Evan
I grew frustrated with Emma when things ended with Evan and she started seeing Drew. She felt the need to break up with Evan because she could not afford to have anyone close to her and learn her secret. So why didn't the same hold true for Drew? It made no sense and had me wanting to throttle Emma for being so capricious. Thankfully Evan was as patient as he was sweet and loving. 
"I don’t know how to fit you into my world without hurting you too.” The truth in my words revealed more than he’d ever know.
“Don’t worry about hurting me,” he said calmly. “I like being a part of your world, and I understand that it’s more complicated than you’re willing to share with me. But I’ll respect that for now.”
And then that ending, oh my goodness. I was so hopeful… and then that cliffhanger. I definitely want to pick up the second book in this trilogy soon and learn what becomes of Emma. It helps that Donovan’s writing flows so easily and pulls you into the story from the beginning. She has a way of eliciting an emotional response without falling into mawkishness. And I’m sure there’s plenty more emotion to come as the series continues. I can only hope there’s a happy ending at the finish.
3.75/5 Stars 
Have your expectations of a book ever changed how you felt about it? 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I'll Read Before the End of the Year (Pinky Promise!)

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey.
Click HERE for a complete list of participants and future topics.
This week's Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday themes have dovetailed quite nicely. Thumbs up for synchronicity. :) Yesterday's TTT topic was all about books that have been on the ol' TBR since before we started blogging. Today's T5W theme is the books you plan to read by the end of the year. One kind of leads to the other, no? So while I could just post the same list of books I shared yesterday... where's the fun in that? 

Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses was one of my biggest surprises last year. Fantasy is *not* my genre but I took a chance and it paid off big time. I'll need to brush up up some details from ACOTAR before I dive into ACOMAF, but I can't wait to continue the story.

Tillie Cole
I've never read anything from Tillie Cole and even though this one doesn't seem to be representative of her usual genre/style, this is the one I'll be starting with. Because I can't resist a good tearjerker. Ever.

Jennifer Weiner
I was so excited about this book last year that I just had to have it. Not only that I just had to have the pretty UK edition. Aaand... there it still sits on my bookshelf - but not for much longer. My friend Hope loved this one and I'm positive I will, too. 

Elle Kennedy
Am I officially the last person who has not read The Deal? I am, right? With my love of good new adult, I can't believe I've managed to put this one off as long as I have but it will happen by the end of the year.  

Renee Carlino
Another one that I just had to have last year. And then didn't read it. But when I read an ARC of Swear on This Life, I knew I needed to read everything Renee Carlino has written. So Before We Were Strangers will be first on that list.

What book are you determined to read by the end of the year?

Top Ten Tuesday: No, I Still Haven't Read It (The Pre-Blogging TBR of Shame)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 
As soon as I read this week's Top Ten Tuesday theme I could feel book bloggers everywhere cringe. Like there was a disturbance in the Force. We're being called out on the books that have been on our TBR (or bookshelf) since before we  started blogging... that we still haven't read. And I know I wasn't the only one cringing. :) Let's be real, we all know there's waaay more than 10 books on the list but we're showing restraint for Top Ten Tuesday. So here we go: 10 books that were on my TBR even before I started blogging that I can't believe I *still* haven't read. 
The Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
Archer's Voice - Mia Sheridan
Making Faces - Amy Harmon
The Selection - Kiera Cass
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo
The Edge of Never - J.A. Redmerski
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay
Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes
Have you read any of these books?
Is there one that I need to read immediately?
What book has been on your TBR the longest?

New Release Review: Show Me How by Molly McAdams

Show Me How by Molly McAdams

Series: Thatch #3

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: August 23, 2016

Format: Kindle

Source: Edelweiss

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


After her first love was ripped from her grasp four years earlier, Charlie Easton was sure she would never be able to trust anyone with the shattered pieces of her heart again. That is, until Deacon Carver forces himself into her life, and makes those pieces swirl in chaos. But Charlie doesn't know how to let him in… until a stranger stumbles upon a notebook filled with her innermost secrets, and shows her how.

Deacon Carver is known for sleeping his way through the town of Thatch, as well as the surrounding cities—something he used to take pride in. But that persona has haunted Deacon ever since he decided to leave that life behind for the girl he wants more than anything: Charlie Easton.

But when another girl falls into Deacon's life, allowing him to be himself without judgment for his past, will their conversations hinder his relationship with Charlie… even if he's never seen her?
My Thoughts

Show Me How is a wonderful addition to Molly McAdams’ Thatch series. In it we get to delve into the lives of characters that we know from the previous books in the series – Charlie and Deacon. The road these two have to travel to find their way is an emotional one, filled with missteps, but so, so rewarding.

Charlie has returned to Thatch after college and is focused on one thing and one thing only: getting custody of her three year old son, Keith. She gets a job, she sets up a home for she and Keith, doing everything required to make sure Keith is finally hers even as she continues to grieve for Ben, Keith’s father and her only love. Being back in Thatch brings her face to face with Deacon and her heart is telling her that maybe she can love another. 

"As I grew up and my reading material grew with me,
 my standards for my Prince Charming morphed, but
 never lessened. I was so sure I would find my Prince Charming, 
even if he wasn't as princely as I'd dreamed when I was a little girl."

Deacon has always been known among his friends as the king of the one night stands. A guy who’s had to stretch his conquests beyond the bounds of Thatch because he’s slept his way through most every girl there. He’s not even sure that love really exists – certainly not for him. So why is it that he can’t stop thinking about Charlie?

The growth in both Charlie and Deacon was so well done and I loved seeing how far they’d come, even though it wasn’t an easy journey. Through misunderstandings and mistakes and fears, two people who were convinced that a forever love was not possible, find their way to just that.

I enjoyed the fact that previous characters in the series played such prominent roles in Charlie and Deacon’s story. Jagger and Grey, Knox and Harlow, Graham – they were all here and made for such a richer story. And then there was Keith. I’ve never been a fan of small children in books. They are usually too precious and too precocious for words and the over the top cute factor leaves me cold. Not so here. Keith was a little bundle of energy and laughs and was so adorable that I couldn’t help but be completely charmed. His talk of ‘supapowers’ with Deacon made me smile every time and whenever he mentioned ‘the grassy place’ my heart hurt. McAdams managed to make Keith a completely believable three year old little boy that lit up every scene he was in.

The epilogue was just perfect and had me teary-eyed. The fact that it was in Deacon’s point of view made it that much more poignant. I’m sad this is the last entry in the Thatch series because I would love to return to this cast of characters again and again.

3.5/5 Stars

Note: Show Me How is the third in a companion series. It can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading the series in order for a richer experience and to better understand the relationships between characters.

* I received an advance review copy from William Morrow via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Sunday Post #22

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:

Happy weekend! This past week has been a return to normal. I went back to working full days at the office after having worked half days for the past two weeks. It felt great to get back into a regular routine. And on Saturday my husband and I spent the whole day together: lunch at one of our favorite spots, ran some errands, went to Hobby Lobby (which ended up being a bust - I didn't find anything I was looking for), and had a late dinner of some truly delicious seafood. I even found some time to play with my books and did some rearranging and reshelving. Day made. I capped off the night by hanging out in my reading room and, not reading, but coloring to my heart's content. Playing with pretty pictures and colored pencils while surrounded by books? Perfect end to the day. :)

Oh, and my August Bookworm Box was delivered on Wednesday - much earlier than expected. Best mail day of the month!

Tuesday, August 16: The week's Top Ten Tuesday them was all about book settings and I went with one of my favorites: Southern settings. And based on the comments I'm not alone in my love for books set in the South!

Thursday, August 18: That's What He Said Thursday has long been one of my favorite memes so I loved getting back into the swing of things this week with a new TWHST post. The Addicted series is simply bursting with fabulous quotes so there's no shortage to chose from. This week I chose one from Ryke Meadows and I got all the feels again just making the graphic for the post. Swoon!

Saturday, August 20: On Saturday I shared a few of my reading rituals as part of the #ShelfLove Challenge. These included such earth-shattering insights as choosing the right bookmark and having loads of page flags on hand. ;-)


Be With Me (Wait For You #2) - Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Proposal (Wait For You #2.5) - Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Crown's Game (audio) by Evelyn Skye
Some Kind of Perfect - Krista & Becca Ritchie


It Ends With Us - Colleen Hoover
Love In Rewind - Tali Alexander

I received a signed copy of It Ends With Us in my Bookworm Box so I now find myself with an extra copy (the one I pre-ordered). Be on the lookout for a giveaway soon!



Some Sort of Happy - Melanie Harlow

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)