WWW Wednesday #42 | February 27, 2019

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

It's bright and sunny right now and about 70 degrees as I type this (at 10 am). But the rain it is a comin'. Woo hoo! By this evening the thunderstorms will be rolling in and you know what that means... perfect reading weather! :) Once I get home from the office and grab some dinner I'm settling in to read. What's your plan for tonight?

Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating - Christina Lauren
Loving this one! Oh my goodness, I can't remember the last time I laughed so much while reading. CLo has a way with zingy dialogue and I love it. I admit I was a little hesitant about this one because sometimes the stereotypical "quirky/wacky" character rubs me the wrong way. It feels too forced. But that is so not the case with Hazel. She is like a breath of fresh air and is just a ray of sunshine. She and Josh together are too precious for words! :) 

Vanishing Summer - Lora Richardson
No cover or GoodReads link for this one yet but I'm talking about it anyway. Y'all know I love Richardson's Juniper series and recommend those books every chance I get. Vanishing Summer is the start of a new series and it was just as sweet and genuine and heartfelt as her others. It releases in late March and I'm already looking forward to sharing my review closer to the release date. I so want everyone to meet Greta and Everett! 


I'm in this mood where I want to read All The Things so I don't even know what's next. So many options! I'll wait and see what I feel like after I finish Josh & Hazel, but these are all options. Which one do you think I should read next?

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

Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat
Becky Albertalli
Publication date: April 24, 2018
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover/Purchased


Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
Okay. *takes a deep breath* Let me start by saying that I adore Becky Albertalli. I think she is one of the most talented voices in contemporary YA and she manages to create teen characters that are flawlessly authentic. Let me also say that Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of my favorite books ever (regardless of age group or genre), I loved The Upside of Unrequited, and What If It’s Us was a total delight. But (you knew there was a but coming), I just can’t say the same things for Leah on the Offbeat.


1. Being back in the Creekwood world. I loved stepping back into the world that gave me characters like Simon, Nick, Abby, Bram, Leah, Taylor and all the rest. I loved the feeling of catching up with friends.

2. The honesty and humor. To put it simply, Becky Albertalli keeps it real. She somehow captures what it feels like to be a teenager and puts it to paper in a way that feels so authentic, not like an adult writing what she guesses a teenager would say and do. She seems to have her finger on the pulse of a generation and shares their voice with compassion and care. Add to that her humor that just speaks to me and creates page after page of laugh out loud moments.

3. Simon + Blue (yeah, no spoilers for the first book here). I was living for every Simon + Blue scene. I read every one with a smile on my face and my heart was just one big pile of mushy goo. Those two are the definition of precious and I couldn’t get enough. I mean, that promposal scene? Gah! So adorable!


1. Leah. It pains me to say, but I spent most of the book not liking Leah. For someone who could be so self-aware she was always shockingly clueless at times. She was cavalier with the feelings of others which disappointed to me to no end. And when she got on her sanctimonious high horse… look out. My biggest issue with Leah, though, came at a pivotal scene when another main character was sharing something important. Leah’s reaction had steam coming out of my ears and the hypocrisy she displayed had me seeing red.

2. The romance. Sorry, I didn’t buy it. It didn’t feel organic and maybe that’s a weird thing to say because obviously these are Albertalli’s characters and she knows them better than anyone, but the romantic relationship felt forced and I never bought into it. Also, the fact that there had to be a break-up for the romance to happen… meh. It left a bad taste.

3. Characters who no longer felt familiar. Maybe this is just me, but there were a couple characters that just felt so different from who they were in Simon Vs. Most notably, Abby and Nick. It was like they had personality transplants between the two books and I no longer recognized them.

So there you have it. I have to admit, it kind of hurts my heart that I didn’t love this one. But for me it just didn’t have the magic and charm of Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. And I discovered that I like Leah better in small doses.


The Sunday Post #143 (on a Monday... again)

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:

This past weekend wasn't non-stop packed full, but there was still enough going on that I stayed busy. Hence, The Sunday Post on a Monday. Plus, I simply chose to do what I wanted to do and let blogging take a backseat. *gasp!* Imagine that. LOL Both days were a great blend of being out and about and down time. 

Yesterday The Husband and I  (along with my mom) went to a showing of Star Wars with the score performed by the symphony orchestra. We've seen a couple of the Harry Potter movies this way and it's such a great experience. As with the HP movies, there were photo ops and characters in full gear - and plenty of attendees came in costume which is always fun to see. 

Otherwise it was business as usual. I only worked three days last week, which seemed like a good idea at the time. But I thought those three days were going to beat me down and kill me. LOL I practically crawled home each evening and went to bed early every night. Here's hoping for an easier week! :)

Since I didn't post yesterday, nor did I visit any blogs, I have some catching up to do. I hope to do some blog hopping this afternoon/evening. *fingers crossed* 

Tuesday, February 19
Top Ten Tuesday: 
Great Books, Few Ratings (aka Hidden Gems)

Wednesday, February 20
WWW Wednesday #41


Loved this latest entry into The Others series. This whole genre is so far from my norm (hello, contemporary romance), but there's something about it that sucks me right in and I am totally invested. 


Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating - Christina Lauren
I'm only about 60 pages into this one but already it is so much fun. I love the humor and I can't wait to see what happens when Hazel and Josh start setting each other up.  


Asa (Marked Men #6) - Jay Crownover
I'll probably finish this one today and my re-listen of the Marked Men series (for the 3rd time? the 4th?) will be complete. Maybe now I will finally continue on with the Saints of Denver series.


I still think about this one, months later, and can actually see myself re-reading it. For that reason I decided I needed a physical copy. Obviously.


Not a one.


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

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... :)

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! 

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.

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.


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


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. 


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. 


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!


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! :)


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!